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Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)

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Published on Jan 16, 2014

According to the CDC, more than 9,000 healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are caused by CRE each year. CRE, which stands for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, are a family of germs that are difficult to treat because they have high levels of resistance to antibiotics. The term Carbapenem, describes a type of antibiotics that are frequently used to treat severe infections and are often considered the antibiotics of last resort.

Klebsiella species and Escherichia coli (E. coli) are examples of Enterobacteriaceae, a normal part of the human intestinal bacteria that can become carbapenem-resistant.

Healthy people usually do not get CRE infections. In healthcare settings, CRE infections most commonly occur among patients who are receiving treatment for other conditions. Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators (breathing machines), urinary (bladder) catheters, or intravenous (vein) catheters, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for CRE infections.

CRE can cause a variety of diseases, ranging from pneumonia and urinary tract infections, to serious bloodstream or wound infections. The symptoms vary depending on the disease. To get a CRE infection, a person must be exposed to CRE bacteria. They are most often spread person-to-person in healthcare settings through contact with infected or colonized people, particularly contact with wounds or stool. CRE can cause infections when it enters the body, often through medical devices like intravenous catheters, urinary catheters, or through wounds caused by injury or surgery.

CRE infections are very difficult to treat and can be deadly. To prevent the spread of CRE, healthcare providers and patients should practice good hand hygiene and use Contact Precautions when appropriate. Environmental cleaning and disinfection strategies are also important.

These are just a few things to know about CRE, to learn more about this or other health and safety, occupational or environmental issues, please visit the websites shown in the video.

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