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. (Read more drug-resistant bacteria stories.)