'Nightmare Bacteria' Has Spread To 46 States In Just 12 Years

Each year, 2 million people get an infection that is resistant to antibiotics, the CDC has reported. Twenty-three thousand of them die as a result of the infection, and many more die from related complications.

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are just one variety of antibiotic-resistant bacteria — MRSA is more common — but they are deadly enough to have been named "nightmare bacteria."

CRE have become resistant to almost all available antibiotics, and the CDC has found that "a lmost half of hospital patients who get bloodstream infections from CRE bacteria die from the infection."

"CRE are nightmare bacteria," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in an emailed statement. "Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections."

In 2001 the bacteria was only found in one North Carolina facility, but in the last 12 years it has spread to at least one hospital or nursing home in 45 other states. Nationwide, 4% of hospitals had at least one patient with CRE.

The quickly spreading threat of CRE, illustrated in this CDC map, should serve as a cautionary tale about the grim future that awaits if we don't take action soon.

CDC Nightmare Bacteria Threat bigger infographic.JPG
CDC Nightmare Bacteria Threat bigger infographic.JPG


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