‘Phantom Menace’ Bacteria Cases Increase in the US

The hard-to-treat "phantom menace" bacteria poses a threat to public health.
CRE, CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bacteria, infections, superbug, phantom menace
Photo by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Increasing numbers of superbug infections are being reported across the country, according to a Washington Post article. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report explained that this superbug — commonly called the “phantom menace” — could be a serious public health concern because of its “potential for rapid global dissemination.”

The Washington Post reports:

This superbug’s strains belong to the family of bacteria known as CRE, which are difficult to treat because they are often resistant to most antibiotics. They are often deadly, too, in some instances killing up to 50 percent of patients who become infected, according to the CDC. Health officials have called CRE among the country’s most urgent public health threats.

Healthy people are usually not at risk for contracting CRE infections, according to the CDC. The CDC explains on its website that the most common groups of people affected by the bacteria are those who are in health care settings being treated for something different and those with compromised immune systems.

Between June 2010 and August 2015, there have been at least 43 reported cases in the United States.

To read the full Washington Post article, visit https://www.washingtonpost.com. For more information on CRE, visit http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/cre.

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