A new study examining the frequency of CRE, or carbapenemase-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, in the general hospital population has those of us in the infection prevention world worried. The study found that CRE is more prevalent among healthy patients than previously thought, that those patients are transferring it within the hospital population, and that its antibiotic resistance mechanisms are more abundant than we knew. This blog is a repost.
CRE is actually a family of bacteria, not a single species, as Enterobacteriaceae is a broad grouping of Gram-negative bacteria including E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Salmonella species, as well as many harmless bacteria. What sets this particular group apart is their ability to resist the carbapenem class of antibiotics.
Carbapenem antibiotics are broad-spectrum, meaning they are effective against many different types of bacteria. Over time, bacteria develop new tricks to defeat new medicines, and such is the case with the CRE group. The bacteria evolved to produce an enzyme that can defeat carbapenem drugs.
The large collective grouping of the bacteria limits our ability to describe one type of CRE infection, as they vary in where the infection occurs and how it presents (symptoms). What they do have in common, however, is a high mortality rate. Some reports claim 48% of patients with CRE will not survive. They tend to occur less in otherwise healthy patients, while the elderly and immunosuppressed are more vulnerable.
Few drugs can be utilized to treat a patient with a CRE infection. And our continued use of broad-spectrum antibiotics as a default treatment for infections (until lab tests confirm the exact bacteria involved) is contributing to the problem. Hopefully, new technology will help find the right drug sooner, since most patterns of resistance are to the broad-spectrum antibiotics. But antibiotics aren’t needed when you avoid infections in the first place — by destroying these nightmare bacteria.
LightStrike Full Spectrum™ UVC light is not deterred by any type of antibiotic resistance. As evidenced in peer-reviewed studies, LightStrike™ Robots reduce CRE by greater than 6 logs! We’ve also been proven effective against E.coli, Klebsiella, and many other pathogens of the Enterobacteriaceae family. One of the best ways to avoid these types of infections is to keep the hospital environment free of pathogens, with Xenex Germ-Zapping Robots.