CRE bacteria: What you should know

Preventing the spread of CRE and other antibiotic-resistant infections begins with practicing good hand-hygiene and using antibiotics only when necessary.

CRE, which stands for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, are strains of bacteria that are resistant to carbapenem, a class of antibiotic used to treat severe infections, as well as most other antibiotics commonly used today. In some cases, CRE are resistant to all available antibiotics.

Often called "superbugs," antibiotic-resistant bacteria that cause pneumonia, urinary tract infections and skin infections are just a few of the dangers people face today. CRE superbugs have a unique ability to spread and share their antibiotic-resistant qualities with healthy bacteria in your body, creating the potential to cause infections if they get into the bladder, blood or other areas where these germs don't belong. When this happens, it leads to infections that are difficult, if not impossible, to treat effectively.

Who's at risk?

CRE-related infections are associated with high mortality rates and are often responsible for outbreaks in health care settings. People whose care requires devices such as breathing machines (ventilators) or catheters and long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk of CRE infections.

Feb. 05, 2016 See more In-depth