More antibiotic-resistant bacteria in U.S. hospitals - KWES NewsWest 9 / Midland, Odessa, Big Spring, TX: newswest9.com |

More antibiotic-resistant bacteria in U.S. hospitals

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Amarillo, TX -- The Centers for Disease Control is raising concerns about ever-stronger and ever-deadlier bacteria in hospitals.  In a report released this week, the CDC found there has been a fourfold increase in CRE bacteria over the last decade.

CRE, or Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, are a group of more than 70 different kinds of bacteria that are highly resistant to modern antibiotics, and their numbers are growing.  In fact, the CDC found that the number of hospitals reporting cases increased fourfold, from 1 to 4 percent.  And infections can have up to a 50 percent mortality rate.

And ironically, using more and stronger antibiotics can actually help the bacteria evolve even stronger, as Dr. Roger Smalligan of the Texas Tech School of Medicine explains,

"It's a factor of the availability of these antibiotics in our hospitals and the fact that as newer and stronger ones come out, we tend to use them a lot as physicians, because they're so strong they can kill a lot of bugs and help people get better. The problem is that the more we use them, the more bacteria have a chance to mutate and develop these resistance factors."

However, your chances of contracting any CRE bacteria is exceptionally small, and most people with healthy immune systems probably wouldn't suffer any infection.  But you can take action to protect yourself - the CDC advises against using more antibiotics than are prescribed to you, and urges you to tell your doctor if you've ever been hospitalized in another state or country.

If you'd like to learn more about CRE, follow the links attached to this story.

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