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Diseases & Topics

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)

Enterobacteriaceae are a family of bacteria that normally live in water, soil, and the human gut. One example is Escherichia coli (E. coli). A newly emerging type of these bacteria are carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or "CRE." CRE are untreatable or difficult-to-treat Enterobacteriaceae that have developed high levels of resistance to antibiotics, including last-resort antibiotics called carbapenems. Still unusual in this country, CRE infections most commonly occur among patients who are receiving antibiotics and significant medical treatment for other conditions. Learn more about antibiotic resistance.

Recently, some unusual forms of CRE have been identified in the United States. The vast majority of these unusual organisms have been found in patients who previously received overnight medical treatment outside of the United States.

Hospitals and healthcare providers are being alerted to the growing occurrence of CRE infections in the United States and the need for careful infection control measures in healthcare settings to prevent the spread of CRE.

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