A strain of untreatable bacteria has sparked growing concern in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where officials are beginning to question whether or not the superbug can be halted in its tracks before going epidemic.
Speaking on the severity of the problem this week, director of the CDC Thomas Frieden issued a sobering warning that “These are nightmare bacteria that present a triple threat. They’re resistant to nearly all antibiotics. They have high mortality rates, killing half of people with serious infections. And they can spread their resistance to other bacteria.”
The strain sending shivers up and down the medical community of the United States is known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE for short, which has shown up in a handful of elderly care facilities and several hospitals. On a positive note, there hasn’t yet been a reported case of CRE occurring in the general public domain.
Sadly, Frieden and others from the CDC remain convinced that should the exponential growth in superbug outbreaks not be brought under control, the treatment of many minor and routine infections may become to a great extent impossible.
For the most part, those susceptible to superbugs are individuals suffering from problems with their immune system and usually either living or spending significant lengths of time in medical facilities. In the space of a decade, the Enterobacteriaceae family’s resistance to all-known antibiotics rocketed from 1% in 2011 to over 4% in 2011.
This is now expected to grow even further unless immediate and comprehensive action is taken, according to the CDC.
Worryingly, the tone from the CDC seems to be one of a general pessimistic nature and little reassurance has been offered that the strain can be brought under control before reaching disastrous epidemic levels. In the absence of having any real influence over the problem, the public is once again being advised to practice the most rigorous personal hygiene when making nursing home or hospital visits and also be wary of the cleanliness of overseas facilities.