Drug Resistant CRE

Type: Bacterial

Geography: United States, Australia

Cases Per Year: 4,500

Fatality Rate: up to 50%

First Discovered: 1996 in North Carolina, United States

Enterobacteriaceae are a large family of different types of bacteria that cause infections. Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria no longer respond to the antibiotics designed to kill them. Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae are Enterobacteriaceae that have developed resistance to carbapenems. They are difficult to treat and are a threat to public health. The bacteria has been called a “superbug” and a “nightmare bacteria.”

These bacteria can cause infections including pneumonia, bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, wound infections, and meningitis.

CRE infections are more commonly seen in ill patients who are in and out of hospitals and those patients with exposure to acute and long-term care settings. Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators, urinary catheters, or intravenous catheters, patients who are taking long courses of antibiotics, and patients with weakened immune systems are most at risk for CRE infections. CRE bacteria are most often spread person-to-person in healthcare settings specifically through contact with infected people or contact with wounds or stool.

Photo: Citrobacter freundii, some strains cause opportunistic nosocomial infections  – Electron micrograph.