The CDC recently warned about the potentially deadly new superbug that poses special problems for hospitals and nursing homes in Mississippi. The bacteria, known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), cannot be killed by most antibiotics.
The worry among health providers is that CRE poses a special threat to patients across the country because, in addition to its antibiotic resistance, the bacteria is incredibly deadly, with an unusually high mortality rate. The final factor that makes CRE so troubling to doctors is that the bacteria has a habit of spreading its antibiotic resistance to other bacteria, like E. coli. This could make treating other common illnesses much more difficult.
CRE is part of a very common and generally harmless family of bacteria that live in the stomach. However, CRE can cause extremely serious problems for those that develop CRE infections of the bloodstream. In fact, CRE death rates are estimated at between 38 and 44 percent, a significantly higher level than is typically seen in similar infections.
So far, CRE has been detected in 42 states, including Mississippi. The infections are most common in long-term care facilities, given the susceptibility of already immune-comprised patients to such infections. The CDC said that CRE infections have been found in about four percent of U.S. hospitals. This number jumps enormously, up to 18 percent, of all long-term care facilities.
The CDC recommended a variety of techniques that hospitals and nursing homes can employ to help reduce the threat posed by CRE. For one thing, increased vigilance needs to be encouraged when it comes to hand washing. All healthcare workers must wash their hands any time they come into contact with patients. Antibiotics should also be distributed more sparingly, which would help diminish the risk of new superbugs from arising. Invasive medical devices like catheters, which are a big source of CRE infections, should only be used when absolutely necessary.
The CDC also said that hospitals should work hard to segregate patients and staff in cases where a CRE infection has been reported. For instance, only certain staff should treat infected patients and they should refrain from working with other, healthy patients to avoid spreading the infection.
Those who have suffered injuries at the hand of their doctor should be aware that legal remedies might be available to them. If you would like to speak with a Mississippi medical malpractice attorney about a potential medical malpractice claim, call Jackson, Mississippi medical malpractice lawyers at Kilpatrick & Philley today at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “Drug-resistant lethal ‘superbugs’ like CRE may have met their equal: Lawmakers on Capitol Hill,” by Cheryl Wetzstein, published at WashingtonTimes.com.
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