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Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are a type of bacteria. They can cause infections. These infections can be hard to treat.
CRE got their name from the fact that they are resistant to carbapenems. Carbapenems are a class of antibiotics. They were created in the 1980s.
Antibiotics are used to kill certain types of bacteria. There are many kinds of these medicines. Over time, some bacteria may no longer be killed by them. This is known as antibiotic resistance.
For decades, bacteria have shown resistance to common types of antibiotics. So healthcare providers often turned to carbapenems to kill these germs. But some bacteria have become resistant to these medicines as well.
Before 2000, CRE were fairly uncommon in the U.S. They have become much more common since then. CRE are now a major cause of infections in healthcare settings.
Healthy people usually do not get these infections. Patients in hospitals have the highest risk of a CRE infection. Those who are very ill are especially at risk. People of all ages can become infected with CRE. The elderly and the very young are mainly at risk of dying from CRE infections.
An overuse of antibiotics promotes the growth of bacteria like CRE. If you have a bacterial infection, your healthcare provider may treat it with an antibiotic. The medicine will work if you have a nonresistant strain of the bacteria.
But a few bacteria may survive. They may change genetically. These changes can allow them to resist the antibiotic. For example, they may make a substance that disrupts the structure of the antibiotic. These resistant bacteria may then spread. They may cause an infection.
Certain factors may make it more likely that you will get a CRE infection. These include:
Other factors may raise the risk of death from a CRE infection. These include other serious illnesses.
Symptoms of a CRE infection vary. They may differ with the type of the bacteria involved and the part of the body infected.
One example is Klebsiella pneumoniae. It is a type of bacteria that is often resistant to carbapenems. Infection with these bacteria might lead to symptoms like:
Infections with other types of CRE may cause different symptoms.
Your healthcare provider will first take a medical history. He or she will ask you questions about your symptoms and any past medical problems. You will likely also need a medical exam.
Your healthcare provider will likely order some tests. These depend on your symptoms and exam. They might include:
A blood culture test shows what type of bacteria is making you sick. The sensitivity test can tell your healthcare provider which medicine will kill the bacteria.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
Your treatment may include the following:
In very rare cases, there may not be another antibiotic that works. Supportive care may help you fight the infection.
Complications from CRE vary according to the type and site of infection. For example, a lung infection from CRE might result in a lung abscess.
Sepsis is a serious problem caused by CRE. It can lower blood flow to vital organs. It may even cause death.
Healthcare professionals can help prevent the spread of CRE by:
You can also help prevent the spread of a CRE infection. These are some of the things you can do:
The CRE are a group of bacteria. They are resistant to antibiotics called carbapenems. Infections with CRE are often hard to treat. These infections often lead to death. That’s especially the case in people who are already very ill.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
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