‘Nightmare’ bacteria cases found in NY, 26 other states: CDC
Superbad superbugs have scientists on high alert.
More than 200 cases of “nightmare” bacteria with new or rare antibiotic-resistant genes were identified in 27 states, including New York, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Other affected states are scattered around the U.S. and include Connecticut, Florida, Texas, California, Washington and Alabama.
These “nightmare” bacteria — officially known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE — can cause pneumonia and bloodstream and urinary tract infections.
The death rate for those infected with the organisms is estimated at about 50 percent.
The problem mostly strikes people in hospitals, nursing homes and similar environments.
Researchers are using an aggressive surveillance program to stop the resistant bacteria from spreading, according to the CDC report released Tuesday.
“We are working to get in front of them before they do become common in order to protect patients now and in the future,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said Tuesday at a news conference.
“The good news is that we had hard data showing an aggressive approach works” to halt the spread, Schuchat added.
Antibiotic-resistant infections extend beyond CRE. More than 2 million Americans are affected each year, and 23,000 die from these infections, according to the CDC.
Researchers are striving to get the upper hand on the germs through identification, tracking and containment efforts by setting up an Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory Network across the country.
“CDC estimates show that even if only 20% effective,” Schuchat said, “the containment strategy can reduce the number of nightmare bacteria cases by 76% over three years in one area.”
Containment isn’t a new approach, she added.
“But what is new is tremendously increased capacity in every state which is allowing more rapid detection of resistance and prompting a more aggressive response.”
Individuals can do their part to stem antibiotic resistance by keeping hands clean and disinfecting cuts, the CDC recommends.
People are urged to tell their doctors if they recently received medical treatment in another country.