"Nightmare" bacteria, resistant to almost every drug, stalk US hospitals

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More than 220 cases of a breed of "nightmare bacteria" with new or rare antibiotic-resistant genes, have been found in 27 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report released Tuesday.

In 1988, health officials in the United States learned that some germs within one family of bacteria, Enterobacteriaceae, could produce an enzyme capable of breaking down common antibiotics.

"There are certain bacterial genes that are more worrisome than others, that are much harder to treat", Adalja said. Researchers report that nationwide testing uncovered 221 instances of unusual resistance in the so-called "nightmare bacteria" - the unsafe germ carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which can kill if it gets into the bloodstream, urinary tract or lungs.

Nightmare bacteria - those that are resistant to nearly every drug - are particularly deadly in the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. "I was surprised by the numbers" of bacteria with unusual antibiotic resistance, Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said. A new report by the agency also mentions that, in 2017, new nationwide testing for genes that confer this resistance found hundreds of examples of it in what they term "nightmare bacteria".

"As fast as we have run to slow [antibiotic] resistance, some germs have outpaced us", Schuchat said.

This means that patients who are infected with superbugs are less likely to receive matching treatments and have chances of complete recovery. By 2001, the germs had begun to evolve, becoming more resistant to carbapenems and other antibiotic drugs.

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Nightmare bacteria is the unsafe germ carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), which can kill if it gets into the bloodstream, urinary tract or lungs.

Today, the CDC promotes an aggressive "containment strategy" that includes rapid detection tests and screening for reducing the spread of antibiotic resistance.

Wash your hands regularly and keep cuts clean until healed. Once researchers detected these bacteria, they tested other patients in the same facility to see if the bacteria had spread. "The threat is real because it is usual to transfer patients from one hospital to another, which increases the risk of infection", admitted Jay Butler from the Public Health Division of the State of Ontario.

Doctors say the resistance stems from the overuse and overprescription of antibiotics. The genes present in antimicrobial-resistance bacteria do not only cause or spread infections.

It's not a "one and done" deal, Srinivasan said. Up to half of the resulting infections prove fatal, Schuchat said.

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