CRE Bacteria Infection
(Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae)

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Recent news agencies have presented short but eye-brow raising comments made by the CDC about new and "dangerous" bacteria. The bacteria go by many names in the public press; "superbug 2013," "nightmare bacteria," and "dangerous bacteria" are just some of the names. Unfortunately, most news stories have only a few minutes to explain a somewhat complicated situation involving genetics, bacterial adaptation to environmental pressures, and the impact on human populations that makes the CDC researchers and many other researchers and doctors concerned. This article is designed to present readers with some further insights into these "dangerous" bacteria. The CDC name for these bacteria is CRE bacteria; the CRE stands for Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae.

First, what are dangerous CRE (Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae) bacteria? Simply stated, these bacteria are members of related bacterial genera that are commonly found almost everywhere in the world, often colonizing humans and animals (living in or on humans and animals mucosal surfaces, gastrointestinal tracts and on some areas on the skin). However, CRE possess a unique genetic makeup that allows the bacteria to make a component (an enzyme) that protect CRE bacteria from a powerful antibiotic - Carbapenem. The most notable genera that can share and even transfer this genetic trait to other members of the Enterobacteriaceae are E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Because these bacteria generate similar problems for patients (especially treatment difficulties) most investigators simply group them together and term them CRE bacteria. Similar types of components are termed KPC (Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase) and NDM (New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase). This resistance to Carbapenem is not the only reason these bacteria are considered dangerous.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/12/2013