Untreatable and often deadly superbugs are spreading through hospitals across the United States and doctors fear that it could be too late to stop them, senior health officials said Tuesday.
“These are nightmare bacterias that present a triple threat,” said Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to USA Today.
“They’re resistant to nearly all antibiotics. They have high mortality rates, killing half of people with serious infections. And they can spread their resistance to other bacteria,” Frieden said.
This class of superbug, called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, currently has only been found only in hospitals or nursing homes, rather than in the community, Frieden said.
Officials are sounding the alarm because if the bacteria’s spread isn’t contained soon it will cause common infections to become untreatable.
The superbug tends to strike immune-compromised people who are hospitalized for a long time or living in a nursing home, Frieden said.
CRE is not spread through person-to-person contact, like the bacteria causing pink eye or strep throat.