It was only a decade ago that scientists from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identified the first case of carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae at a North Carolina long-term care facility. But since then, this highly resistant pathogen has become a serious public health problem, with cases documented at health care facilities in 40 states.
In some areas, such as New York, physicians now regularly battle such carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) infections. Because effective treatment options are limited, serious infections are associated with death rates as high as 40%. Fortunately, most US hospitals have yet to see CRE infections, with only about 6% of hospitals across the country having encountered a case, according to CDC estimates. This means there's still an opportunity to prevent the spread of this type of infection before it becomes endemic at all facilities, as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) has, said Abbigail Tumpey, MPH, associate director for communications science in the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion.
Kuehn BM. To Battle Deadly Infections, Clinicians Draw on Both New and Old Tools. JAMA. 2012;308(14):1417-1418. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.12574