Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

E. coli. (Image: Nicolle Rager Fuller, National Science Foundation)

CDC: Alarming Rise in Antibiotic-Resistant 'Nightmare Bacteria'

"Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections.”

There is an alarming rise in antibiotic resistant, deadly "nightmare bacteria," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported on Tuesday.

The warning regards carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a family of germs, the CDC explains, that "have become resistant to all or nearly all the antibiotics we have today."

“CRE are nightmare bacteria," CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H, said in a statement.  "Our strongest antibiotics don’t work and patients are left with potentially untreatable infections.”

Enterobacteriaceae germs (E. coli is an example) normally exist in the gut, but can become resistant to carbapenems, known as "last resort antibiotics."  The germs may then travel to areas in the body they don't normally exist, often striking patients in hospitals and nursing homes on ventilators or catheters.

While infections from CRE germs are uncommon, they are particularly deadly, killing up to half of people who get severe infections from them. Their spreading capabilities are also a factor, as they can transfer their antibiotic resistance to other bacteria within their family. And these infections are on the rise, says the CDC, with the most common type of CRE infection increasing seven-fold over the last decade.

The infections in otherwise healthy people have been rare so far, but the CDC warns that the new data show that may change.

The CDC says the findings must be a call for urgent action on coordinated prevention efforts.

“Doctors, hospital leaders, and public health, must work together now to implement CDC’s 'detect and protect' strategy and stop these infections from spreading,” said Frieden.

The CDC has this infographic on the rise of CRE infections:

Read the full report here.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.
We need your help.

Support progressive journalism.

Common Dreams is not your average news site. We don't survive on clicks or advertising dollars. We rely entirely on your support. And without it, our independent progressive journalism simply wouldn’t exist. Every gift of every amount matters.

Join the fight and support our common dreams today.

UN General Assembly Condemns Myanmar Junta Violence, Urges Arms Embargo

Member nations voted 119-1 in favor of the resolution, which also calls for a return to the country's fragile democracy.

Brett Wilkins, staff writer ·

Dems Introduce Abolition Amendment to Scrap Constitution's 'Slavery Clause'

"The loophole in our Constitution's ban on slavery not only allowed slavery to continue, but launched an era of discrimination and mass incarceration that continues to this day," said Sen. Jeff Merkley.

Julia Conley, staff writer ·

'Surreal' and 'Distressing': Climate Experts' Predictions Come True With US Heatwave

"The current heatwave and drought leave no doubt, we are living the dangerous effects of the climate crisis."

Jessica Corbett, staff writer ·

94% of Americans Oppose Big Pharma's Control of Global Covid-19 Vaccine Doses: Poll

Half of U.S. adults also consider it unacceptable that pharmaceutical corporations, which monopolized dose production, have profited substantially from vaccines developed using public funding.

Kenny Stancil, staff writer ·

'Counseling Not Criminalization' Bill Unveiled to Boot Police From US Schools

"For too long our education system has been intertwined with the criminal legal system and the results have been tragic."

Andrea Germanos, staff writer ·