DHEC Reports 26 Cases Of "Superbug"

9:13 PM, Mar 7, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Hospitals in our state are among those reporting cases of what the centers for disease control is calling a "nightmare bacteria."

The superbug bug, known as CRE, belongs to an obscure family of drug-resistant bacteria that the CDC says is on the rise at hospitals and nursing homes around the country.

In 2011, according to the department of health and environmental control, we had 26 cases of CRE in South Carolina. DHEC tells News19 none of them have seen multiple cases of CRE.

While The South Carolina Infection Disclosure Act requires all medical facilities to release CRE data to DHEC, they do not have to release their outcomes.

"We have no drugs that work, they have evaded our last line of defense. That's a terrible problem. If it spreads even more widely, it will be even more severe," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Center for Disease Control.

The CDC says that statistically, the bacteria is fatal in more than half of patients that contract it. Although CRE germs are not very common, One type of CRE has increased from 2% to 10%.

42 states report having had at least one patient test positive for one type of CRE. Dr. Frieden says long term care Patients with ventilators are more susceptible.

"Patients who are ill at this point are the ones who are getting it. It hasn't yet spread into the community and that's why we are saying, take steps now. We have a window of opportunity right now to stop this before it becomes more wide spread."

The CDC says so far, it's only been found in hospitals and nursing homes. Hospital workers are being urged to watch for the infections and take steps to prevent passing the germs to other patients.

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