Hospitals Plagued by Unbeatable 'Superbugs'
'USA Today' finds thousands of cases in recent years
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Nov 29, 2012 11:11 AM CST
Some bacteria manages to resist hospitals' precautions and drugs.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – US hospitals are quietly fighting an incredibly high stakes war that they look unlikely to win against "superbugs" that resist even the most potent antibiotics available, a USA Today investigation has concluded. The paper has compiled evidence showing that hospitals across the country have seen thousands of infections from bacteria known as "Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae" or CRE, so named for its ability to resist even last-resort carbapenem antibiotics.

About 40% of patients infected with CRE die, making it "the most serious challenge we face to patient safety" amongst drug-resistant organisms, one CDC official says. But despite the agency's urgings, few states are tracking infections, and many lack the resources to even identify them. But every state that is tracking it has reported cases, and it already appears endemic in major population centers like New York, LA, and Chicago. What's worse, there's no drug on the horizon that might combat the disease. For the paper's full report, click here.

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Showing 3 of 16 comments
Dec 4, 2012 2:34 AM CST
At present, if you contract an infection in hospital, the hospital makes MORE money out of you than they would have (I know: I spent 6 nights in hospital after what should have been a 2 night stay). If lawmakers made it law that ALL infections contracted in hospital were for the hospital's expense - plus they were responsible for paying you $5000 for every extra day you were unnecessarily sick, this would rapidly be controlled. A simple pre-admission blood test could set the standard. In NO TIME, hospitals would eliminate the problem - with simple low-cost hygiene and discipline measures. ONLY by putting in real consequences will hospital administrators (who are ENTIRELY profit-driven) take action. At the moment it PAYS THEM to pretend they "can't" stop it, and the cure will be "difficult and expensive". As it is, lawmakers are beholden to hospitals' lobbyists. So we will pay, we will die, and bugs will get ever-stronger.
Nov 29, 2012 7:23 PM CST
This has already been solved if the FDA would get off their ass and not only approve but promote an existing cure.
Nov 29, 2012 2:57 PM CST
US hospitals are quietly *creating* superbugs. Not intentionally mind you but as an evolutionary by-product of an ultra sterile environment. By killing all the ordinary bugs on an ongoing basis, they are helping to genetically select only those that can adapt, survive and multiply in such an environment --- superbugs.