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CRE “Superbug” is Invading the Hospital Environment

by E. Dale Burrus, JD, LLM on March 6th, 2013

The Centers of Disease Control has issued a report detailing the rise and spread of drug-resistant germs called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) in the hospital setting. These bacteria are lethal as they are resistant to all or nearly all antibiotics; the mortality rate is approximately 50%; and they spread not only from person to person but from bacteria to bacteria, making resistant bacteria into non-resistant bacteria.

The usual means of transfer is person to person, mostly from health care workers. The CDC re-emphasized its 2012 “CRE prevention toolkit” that is an in-depth recommendation to attempt to control CRE transmissions. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Know if patients in your facility have CRE.
    • Request immediate alerts when the lab identifies CRE.
    • Alert the receiving facility when a patient with CRE transfers, and find out when a patient with CRE transfers into your facility.
  • Protect your patients from CRE.
    • Follow contact precautions and hand hygiene recommendations when treating patients with CRE.
    • Dedicate rooms, staff, and equipment to patients with CRE.
    • Prescribe antibiotics wisely.
    • Remove temporary medical devices such as catheters and ventilators from patients as soon as possible.

The CDC Digital Press Kit can be found at, which in turn provides a link to the prevention toolkit.

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From → Health Law