The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that the network they have set up to identify the "nightmare bacteria" is working. It is asking for participation from more hospitals and doctors for the network to be more effective.
The CDC's report shows that the "nightmare bacteria" is antibiotic resistant.
The CDC says that it has detected more than 220 cases of the nightmare bacteria in 2017. In its new study, the CDC focuses on germs that live in the gut called Enterobacteriaceae. Half of the people that are infected with these germs die from infection. Enterobacteriaceae cannot be killed with antibiotics.
In its findings, the CDC identified more than 1,400 people who tested positive for these kinds of germs, and 221 of those people had a rare variety of the germs. People who are more likely to have contracted these germs include those who have spent time in nursing homes and hospitals.
These bacteria are particularly deadly for elderly people and people with chronic illnesses.
Enterobacteriaceae cannot be killed with what the CDC calls antibiotics of last resorts called carbapenems. Enterobacteriaceae includes E. coli, Klebsiella, and Enterobacter. These bacteria can cause urinary tract infections and sepsis.
The CDC set-up the network to identify the nightmare bacteria in January 2017. It says that it has been able to identify these bacteria, but that they identified more of those types of bacteria than they thought that they would find.
Enterobacteriaceae have their own unusual genes that make them so antibiotic resistant.
During the first nine months of the network tasked with identifying the nightmare bacteria, more than 5,770 bacteria samples were tested to see if they were antibiotic resistant. It found that 25 percent of those samples had genes that made the bacteria harder to treat.
The CDC found that those patterns of resistance were widespread and that the person's age, sex, or race didn't matter.
To avoid the spread of the nightmare bacteria, the CDC along with state and local health authorities take necessary measures. Control measures are taken in nursing homes and hospitals.
People who have been in contact with the infected person such as medical personnel and family members are tested for the bacteria. The CDC's report says that the measures to keep the bacteria from spreading have been working so far.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been a rising problem the past few years. Recently, a strain of antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea was also reported in the UK.