CDC warns of 'nightmare superbug'

By Rachel McNeill - Anchor

HOUSTON - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to get the word out about a so-called "nightmare superbug."

It is the trifecta of all germs: resistant, lethal and rapidly spreading.

According to the CDC, it is a class of germs called carbapeneum-resistant Enterobacteriaceae that's normally found in our digestive systems.

But, they've developed defenses to fight against just about every antibiotic known to man. What worries health officials is that these nightmare bacteria have multiplied seven-fold in the last decade, invading medical facilities in 42 states, including Texas.

Dr. Pablo Okhuysen, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at UTHealth Medical School said, "This is a problem that we've been seeing in the making for a number of years. Bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to our antibiotics to the point that in some of these cases, we have nothing to offer to these patients."

Okhuysen said he has seen cases of CRE in Houston.

Nationwide, infections have been in patients in long-term care facilities and nursing homes.

About half of the patients who get bloodstream infections from CRE die.

The fear is that more bacteria will build the same super defenses, eventually affecting the healthy.

Okhuysen explained, "So we have to create the awareness that new antibiotics need to be developed. We also need to create the awareness within our hospitals and health care facilities that we need to be on the lookout for these infections and do good infection control measures."

So what can we do?

Experts said overuse of antibiotics is a major contributor to this bacteria resistance. Doctors advise only using antibiotics when deemed necessary.

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