CRE: The superbug that spreads across the country

Visit any hospital in the country and you probably wouldn’t be the only person who believed there were an excessively high number of hand hygiene terminals.

This is proving to be one of the main ways in which hospitals are attempting to stop infections in their tracks, and stop superbug epidemics that were once plastered all over the news.

Of course, it’s not just hand hygiene. If you were to delve into hospital policies, you’d see pages and pages of new procedures that have to be adhered to in a bid to beat the superbugs. Everything from hygiene schedules, right the way to using the correct disinfectant products like CaviWipes will be documented.

All of this may appear overboard until you read one staggering statistic. CRE, one of the most potent superbugs at the moment, managed to spread from one facility to 42 different states over the course of ten years. In other words, once one person catches it – the whole country is at risk.

Scary reading? We’d say so. Here are some more facts on CRE which make stringent hospital hygiene procedures much more understandable.

What is CRE in a nutshell?

The bizarre thing about CRE is that it’s actually a family of bacteria which is commonly found in a lot of people’s bodies already. Normally, it is located in the gut – but problems start to occur when the bacteria spreads to other areas of the body, including the skin, urinary track and lungs.

Problems start to intensify when this group of bacteria start to multiply in the wrong places. It means that infections occur and as CRE is so formidable against antibiotics, it is very hard to get rid of.

What are the dangers associated with CRE?

We’ve already highlighted some pretty startling statistics about CRE, so brace yourself for the next set.

Studies suggest that if the infection does find its way into a patient’s bloodstream, fatalities will occur in 50% of cases.

While the infection is dangerous on its own, one of the other reasons CRE is even more harmful is because of how it affects other germs in the body. As we have already documented, it happens to have fantastic resistance to antibiotics. To make matters even more concerning, such resistance can be passed on to other germs that have accumulated in the body.

How does it spread?

All of the above should have probably shown the importance of stopping CRE spreading.

The good thing, if there is such a term, is that it’s quite unusual for healthy people to get it. This is why CRE is so common in hospitals, as it affects people who already have weakened immune systems.

Infection can occur between patients, meaning that once one person has contracted it hospitals need to take as many precautions as possible to isolate that individual. Patients can easily contaminate everything from doorknobs to medical equipment – meaning that the importance of disinfecting the whole hospital environment is paramount in controlling the infection.

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