December 16, 2012
PIERRE, S.D. – The Department of Health and northeastern area health care providers are investigating a cluster of bacterial infections. CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, are difficult to treat because they are resistant to many antibiotics.To date this year, 26 potential cases of CRE from northeastern South Dakota have been reported to the department for evaluation. CRE cases have been reported in 42 states, including all of South Dakota’s neighboring states except Nebraska.
Enterobacteriaceae bacteria such as Klebsiella and E. coli are found in the human digestive system and can become resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. Patients on ventilators, urinary or intravenous catheters, or long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for CRE infections. Healthy people are not at risk.
The department has provided area healthcare and long term care facilities with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the control of CRE and also published the information in the August issue of South Dakota Medicine. It is possible to care for patients and residents with CRE and any other organism while safely caring for other patients and residents in the same facility. Protocols have been established and are followed to ensure patient and staff safety.
The CDC guidelines focus on screening of high risk individuals, laboratory capacity for testing, appropriate use of antibiotics to prevent drug resistance, and proper infection control precautions. The complete guidance can be found at www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/cre/cre-toolkit/index.html.
More information about CRE is available on the CDC website, www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/cre/index.html.