Deadly superbug no cause for panic
Reporter: Liz Kotalik
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - The simple fact is, we have a superbug on our hands, but Dr. Sean Elliot at U of A's Health Network says, that doesn't mean we need to panic.
"The C.D.C. is realizing that the numbers of states, or numbers of hospitals probably, reporting at least one episode of the C.R.E. may be increasing. If that's the case, it crosses their margin of comfort."
Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae , or C.R.E., began as an international problem.
But over the last couple of years, the bug has made its way here.
C.R.E. has left its mark in all but eight states in the country, resisting any medication and killing over half of those infected.
This all may seem overwhelming, but Dr. Elliot says the numbers are still small.
"It still affects a very rare patient population, most notably those hospitalized for long-term and other reasons."
The University of Arizona Medical Center has only seen one case of C.R.E., Dr. Elliot says, and he has not noticed an increase of superbug cases here.
But how did C.R.E. spread around in the first place?
"There are some hospitals that don't strongly support cleaning ones hands before you go into a patient's bedside," Dr. Elliot says.
Which means any sickness can easily get passed around.
But Dr. Elliot also says antibiotics are partially to blame.
"We will see more and more resistant superbugs, and unless we're able to generate new drugs to treat them and stop overusing the current drugs, we're going to run out of options, like we have with C.R.E."
So for now, don't panic, but make sure your care givers are staying clean, and you're only using antibiotics when it is absolutely necessary.