CDC offers tips to reduce resistant bacteria in hospitals

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Every year roughly 90,000 people die in the U.S. from infections acquired in hospital settings. This is significantly higher than the 13,300 hospital-acquired infection deaths from 1992. Due to this increase and the serious threat it presents to patient safety, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is encouraging labs to take reported case of resistant bacteria more seriously. In turn, this could end up having an effect on protocols in Tennessee hospitals and nursing homes.

In looking at the spread of antibiotic resistant bacteria, carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, commonly known as CRE, is on the rise. The CDC reports the proportion of CRE jumped from 1.2 percent in 2001 to 4.2 percent in 2011. The fear is this type of bacteria will continue to spread out of the hospitals and nursing homes and start affecting healthy people.

In terms of just how dangerous this could be, the CDC reports that mortality rates exceed 40 percent among those more invasive cases, like the ones that infect the bloodstream.

To prevent the spread, the CDC said patients with infections from CRE should be grouped together and kept away from the rest of the population. Those medical staff members working with these patients also need to thoroughly wash their hands before and after working with the patients. Those medical devices, such as catheters, also need to be removed as soon as CRE is discovered. This will help prevent the spread of the resistant bacteria.

Lastly, the CDC also wants to see labs issuing an alert as soon as a patient with the bacteria is identified. This alert could help prevent further spread of the bacteria.

When it comes to reducing the instances of CRE, William Schaffner, who is an infectious disease specialist, said properly prescribing and not overprescribing antibiotics is essential. However, this is of concern as the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America estimates that a third of all the antibiotics patients receive in the hospital are unnecessary.

In general, this highlights the importance of properly prescribing patients whether they are in a doctor's office, long-term care facility or overnight in the hospital.

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