In early 2015, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) became a household term when a high-profile outbreak — including two deaths — at a California hospital were linked to contaminated medical scopes.1 But these multidrug-resistant pathogens have been a growing problem for at least a decade. CRE infections increased five-fold from 2008 to 2012, reaching 48 states by 2012.2 In 2012, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that approximately 4% of acute care and 18% of long-term acute care hospitals in the U.S. reported at least one patient with a CRE infection during the first half of that year.3
Now, in 2017, an Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology study of 16 healthcare facilities in the Washington, D.C. area reported a surprisingly high 5.2% prevalence rate.4 That’s only one metropolitan area of the U.S., but it’s certainly not unique.
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1. Terhune C. Superbug linked to 2 deaths at UCLA hospital; 179 potentially exposed. Los Angeles Times. 2015 Feb 18. Accessed Oct 2017. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hospital-infections-20150218-story.html
2. Thaden JT, et al. Rising rates of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in community hospitals: a mixed-methods review of epidemiology and microbiology practices in a network of community hospitals in the Southeastern United States. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2014 Aug;35(8):978-83.
3. CDC. CDC: Action needed now to halt spread of deadly bacteria. Press release. 2013 Mar 5. Accessed Oct 2017. https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0305_deadly_bacteria.html
4. Reuben J, et al; HARP Study Team. Healthcare antibiotic resistance prevalence - DC (HARP-DC): a regional prevalence assessment of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in healthcare facilities in Washington, District of Columbia. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2017 Aug;38(8):921-29.