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CRE superbug a deadly threat to vulnerable patients in Illinois

Many patients in Joliet believe their hospital or care facility is a safe place to be when receiving medical care, but it can also be full of deadly bacteria, or superbugs.

Superbugs can invade medical centers or nursing homes when centers fail to keep their facilities sanitary and clean. Due to hospital negligence, infections that could have otherwise been preventable could occur and cause deadly or serious complications for patients.

One of the superbugs that hit hospitals in the U.S. is called Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), and it infects weak and vulnerable patients. In one hospital alone, it killed seven people in an outbreak. Since CRE was first reported in one state in 2001, 41 other states, including Illinois, have encountered the superbug.

The superbug is dangerous because it fights off carbapenem antibiotics and is hard to keep contained. Hundreds of hospitals and nursing homes have seen the effects of the bacteria. Intestinal issues, urinary tract infections and pneumonia have all been caused from the superbug. An associate director for prevention of health care-associated infections at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said CRE is a "serious threat" to vulnerable patients since even the most powerful antibiotics can't always kill off the bacteria.

Other problems hospitals face regarding the superbug include trying to track the bug and determine where it will travel to next, how to prevent it from spreading, and how to determine how big of an outbreak the bacteria will cause in the facility it reaches.

An infectious-disease doctor at Rush University Medical Center said it has been discovered that about 3 percent of ICU patients carry CRE, and about 30 percent of patients who receive long-term medical care carry the superbug. She said a new approach is needed to control the superbug in the U.S.

Source: USA Today, "Deadly 'superbugs' invade U.S. health care facilities," Peter Eisler, Nov. 29, 2012

  • Our firm provides counsel to Illinois patients and their families who have been harmed by medical malpractice, including deadly hospital infections. To learn more about our firm and practice, please visit our Will County medical malpractice page.

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