Superbug stories are not uncommon in the media these days. This story involves the new cre superbug or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. In simple terms these bacteria are resistant to many of the antibiotics we use to treat them. In this case the bacterium is resistant to the “Imipenem” class of antibiotics. Is this really a serious health concern?
A new superbug is on the rise in U.S. hospitals, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The family of germs, dubbed CRE for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, evades some the strongest antibiotics, making infections almost untreatable.
Your level of worry should probably relate to your overall health. These bacteria do not attack like the plot elements of your average B movie. Are you a medically-complicated patient in an intensive care unit or a long term acute hospital (LTAC?) Another report on this cre superbug reveals that 4% of these infections occur in acute care hospitals and 18% in LTACs. Healthy people do not get this infection on the streets of their neighborhoods. I know the media didn’t tell you that part.
The lesson here is to stay healthy and out of the hospital. Despite the fact that the media tends to hype these superbugs, if you are healthy, you are probably safe from the new cre superbug.
John Di Saia MD