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(Toledo News Now) -
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) is warning hospitals of the dangers of drug-resistant bacteria known as CRE.
Patients in intensive care units are most at risk for contracting infection from CRE, or Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae, but a local infectious disease expert said he's not taking this deadly bacteria lightly.
Brian Dick, ProMedica's Director of Infection Control, leads the team of experts that look for infections within all ProMedica hospitals, and has developed ways to prevent them from spreading.
While still rare, the number of cases of CRE infections is gradually rising because the infections aren't being cleared up.
"It's resistant to a different class of antibiotics, and not only those antibiotics, but it's often then resistant to another family of antibiotics in addition to that," Dick explained.
If the infection gets into the bloodstream, the CDC says half of the patients infected could die, so it's warning hospitals to make sure their microbiology labs know how to detect and prevent CRE.
Dick said there are no current cases of CRE infections in northwest Ohio, but there have been some in recent years.
If CRE is detected in a ProMedica hospital, Dick said the patient will be isolated, and doctors and nurses must wear gowns and gloves around them.
"That prevents us from being in direct contact with the patient or the things that patient contaminated," he said. "When we leave the room, we take that gown and gloves off and wash our hands. We're good to go, we're not infectious to other patients."
Visitors to infected patients would also have to take those precautions, and ProMedica hospitals would contact any long-term care facilities the patient had been to.
"We need to take it seriously, and I'm sure you'll see all the hospitals cooperating and watching for CRE," Dick said.
Representatives from Mercy hospitals said their infectious disease expert was out of town when Toledo News Now attempted to contact them.