CDC: Drug-resistant ‘nightmare bacteria’ pose growing threat

The problem mostly strikes people in hospitals and nursing homes who need IVs and other tubes that can get infected.

Posted: Apr 4, 2018 1:26 PM

ATLANTA (AP) — “Nightmare bacteria” with unusual resistance to antibiotics of last resort were found more than 200 times in the United States last year in a first-of-a-kind hunt to see how much of a threat these rare cases are becoming, health officials said Tuesday.

That’s more than they had expected to find, and the true number is probably higher because the effort involved only certain labs in each state, officials say.

The problem mostly strikes people in hospitals and nursing homes who need IVs and other tubes that can get infected. In many cases, others in close contact with these patients also harbored the superbugs even though they weren’t sick — a risk for further spread.

Some of the sick patients had traveled for surgery or other health care to another country where drug-resistant germs are more common, and the superbug infections were discovered after they returned to the U.S.

“Essentially, we found nightmare bacteria in your backyard,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“These verge on untreatable infections” where the only option may be supportive care — fluids and sometimes machines to maintain life to give the patient a chance to recover, Schuchat said.

The situation was described in a CDC report.

Bugs and drugs are in a constant battle, as germs evolve to resist new and old antibiotics. About 2 million Americans get infections from antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year and 23,000 die, Schuchat said.

Concern has been growing about a rise in bacteria resistant to all or most antibiotics. Last year, public health labs around the country were asked to watch for and quickly respond to cases of advanced antibiotic resistance, especially to some last-resort antibiotics called carbapenems.

In the first nine months of the year, more than 5,770 samples were tested for these “nightmare bacteria,” as CDC calls them, and one quarter were found to have genes that make them hard to treat and easy to share their resistance tricks with other types of bacteria. Of these, 221 had unusual genes that conferred resistance. The cases were scattered throughout 27 states.

“Even in remote areas” this threat is real, because patients often transfer to and from other places for care, said Dr. Jay Butler, chief medical officer for the state of Alaska and past president of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

Others in close contact with the infected patient then were tested, and 11 percent were found to be carrying the same superbugs even though they were not sick. This gives the bugs more of a chance to spread.

What to do? CDC suggests:

—Tell your doctors if you recently had health care in another country.

—Talk with them about preventing infections, taking care of chronic conditions to help avoid them, and getting vaccines to prevent them.

—Wash your hands regularly and keep cuts clean until healed.

Terre Haute
Cloudy
88° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 97°
Robinson
Partly Cloudy
89° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 100°
Indianapolis
Partly Cloudy
87° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 93°
Rockville
Partly Cloudy
80° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 85°
Casey
Partly Cloudy
86° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 96°
Brazil
Mostly Cloudy
88° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 97°
Marshall
Cloudy
88° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 97°
Hot, humid, and hazy.
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1407929

Reported Deaths: 25834
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook56116810553
DuPage933531321
Will777131042
Lake689761025
Kane59918816
Winnebago34589523
Madison32075533
St. Clair29670526
McHenry29452299
Peoria23620346
Champaign21446158
Sangamon19474245
McLean18765194
Tazewell17406308
Rock Island15345329
Kankakee14715224
Kendall13432100
LaSalle12904253
Macon11121214
DeKalb10235122
Vermilion10162154
Adams9386128
Williamson7963138
Whiteside7241174
Boone691180
Ogle627584
Grundy603379
Clinton585893
Coles5838101
Knox5712157
Jackson537465
Henry512970
Macoupin493389
Livingston493192
Woodford490783
Stephenson487286
Effingham480474
Franklin478178
Marion4686117
Jefferson4613123
Monroe447894
Randolph427687
Lee422554
Morgan410092
Fulton409659
Logan404665
Christian392575
Bureau384187
Montgomery383074
Iroquois326668
Perry326661
Fayette325256
McDonough302651
Jersey276652
Saline267557
Douglas262736
Union244141
Lawrence243627
Shelby234938
Crawford216826
Bond211524
Cass209527
Carroll204337
Pike197153
Ford192050
Hancock190832
Clark189034
Warren186250
Wayne185953
Jo Daviess183324
Richland179640
Edgar178942
White176426
Washington167625
Moultrie166328
Mason162647
De Witt160629
Piatt154914
Clay152943
Johnson152516
Greene151434
Mercer151334
Wabash145212
Massac140440
Cumberland130919
Menard126912
Jasper116818
Marshall109519
Hamilton87816
Schuyler8067
Brown8006
Pulaski7337
Stark65625
Edwards62012
Calhoun5352
Henderson53414
Scott5011
Putnam4933
Alexander48511
Gallatin4774
Hardin39412
Pope3384
Unassigned582432
Out of IL30

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 764448

Reported Deaths: 13965
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1049701803
Lake567981029
Allen42685698
St. Joseph37253568
Hamilton37131426
Elkhart29699470
Tippecanoe23347230
Vanderburgh23106404
Porter19538327
Johnson18755391
Hendricks18012321
Madison13463345
Clark13450198
Vigo12789255
LaPorte12533224
Monroe12494178
Delaware11100198
Howard10612237
Kosciusko9736123
Hancock8707149
Bartholomew8235157
Warrick8031157
Floyd7975181
Grant7337181
Wayne7222201
Boone7145105
Morgan6886142
Marshall6323116
Dubois6267118
Cass6083111
Dearborn598578
Noble595790
Henry5939111
Jackson514677
Shelby509097
Lawrence4901127
Gibson460696
Montgomery454492
Clinton453555
DeKalb451585
Harrison450576
Whitley414745
Huntington411781
Steuben409560
Miami404073
Jasper399455
Knox387091
Putnam383762
Wabash367383
Adams351656
Ripley350471
Jefferson340486
White338954
Daviess3084100
Wells302281
Greene292285
Decatur291493
Fayette285864
Posey280435
Scott278058
LaGrange276972
Clay273048
Washington252437
Randolph247083
Jennings238149
Spencer237531
Fountain233750
Starke229859
Owen221059
Sullivan219043
Fulton207645
Jay202832
Carroll196522
Orange190556
Perry189139
Vermillion179644
Rush177027
Franklin171635
Tipton171547
Parke153616
Pike141234
Blackford137832
Pulaski122948
Newton122436
Benton109215
Brown105743
Crawford105116
Martin92515
Warren87615
Switzerland8308
Union73510
Ohio58211
Unassigned0428