Nov 29, 2012
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The doctors tried one antibiotic after another, racing to stop the infection as it tore through the man's body, but nothing worked.
In a matter of days after the middle-aged patient arrived at University of Virginia Medical Center, the stubborn bacteria in his blood had fought off even what doctors consider "drugs of last resort."
"It was very alarming; it was the first time we'd seen that kind of resistance," says Amy Mathers, one of the hospital's infectious disease specialists. "We didn't know what to offer the patient."
"From the perspective of drug-resistant organisms, (CRE) is the most
serious threat, the most serious challenge we face to patient safety,"
says Arjun Srinivasan, associate director for prevention of health
care-associated infections at the Centers for Disease Control and
Since the first known case, at a North Carolina hospital, was reported in 2001, CREs have spread to at least 41 other states,
according to the CDC. And many cases still go unrecognized, because it
can be tough to do the proper laboratory analysis, particularly at
smaller hospitals or nursing homes.