CDC warns of superbug ‘nightmare’

Possibly CDC could focus on solving a real public health problem instead of nannying us?

“What constitutes a “nightmare” to the Centers for Disease Control and Infection? These days, it’s a family of bacteria that can’t be treated with our most powerful antibiotics and kills half of those infected by it.”

Read more at the Reporter Herald.

4 thoughts on “CDC warns of superbug ‘nightmare’”

  1. Every time the government (and media in lockstep) starts coming out with over-the-top alarmist rhetoric attempting to scare people, it’s our clue that we are witnessing another marketing campaign. There is no scientific data that farm use of antibiotics causes antibiotic resistance in people. In fact, when the EU banned antibiotics for livestock growth promotion, the number of resistant bacteria rose, as did the incidence of foodborne illnesses. There’s more evidence that antibiotic use as practiced by livestock professionals actually improves human health and safety, and reduces the pathogen load in foods. More information, for example, here:

    Now, about this CRE bacteria. The CDC is using the same deceptive statistical chartsmanship to scare people that they’ve used to scare the public about other supposed epidemics — citing increases in cases as a percentage and citing increases in the number of states with reported cases, which give a false impression of something threatening, a nightmare and catastrophic going on.

    We are witnessing marketing for the government’s National Healthcare Safety Network (HSN) – a massive integrated government electronic database for infections associated with healthcare facilities. This reporting network was established in 2005 with 300 hospitals voluntarily reporting into it and now supposedly has more than 11,000 medical facilities, according to the CDC. In 2011, when only around 3,000 hospitals (41%) were participating, the government mandated that all hospitals were required to collect and report data on specific central line-associated bloodstream infections and those that don’t turn over data to the government in this network will have their Medicare reimbursements cut 2% beginning this year. The CDC now wants to create a nationalized central laboratory for testing CRE and other antimicrobial susceptible organisms and to expand its oversight outside hospital settings.

    Increased surveillance and reporting does not mean there’s an alarming epidemic. Because 42 states have now reported at least one case of CRE and there’s been a 7-fold increase in reported cases in the past decade, doesn’t mean cases are rampant and spreading across the country. In fact, it’s exceedingly rare, with only 37 cases ever reported in the U.S., and the vast majority from patients who’d received overnight medical treatment outside the country.

    This specific strain of bacteria is part of the gram-negative bacilli that are normal in the human gastrointestinal tract and was first reported to the CDC. As the CDC states, “CRE infections are caused by a family of germs that are a normal part of a person’s healthy digestive system. These germs can cause infections when they get into the bladder, blood, or other areas where germs don’t belong.” Most of the patients who get CRE are over age 65, seriously ill and have indwelling catheters (like urinary catheters and central lines) and other indwelling medical devices. So part of recommended infectious control measures is remove temporary medical devices as soon as possible.

    More to the point, as healthcare professionals know and the CDC has stated, CRE is entirely preventable and controllable by practicing Contact Precautions, infection control procedures that prevent the spread of infections in hospitals and healthcare settings (like hand washing, gowning and gloving, etc.). When proper techniques are followed by hospital and healthcare personnel, outbreaks have been stopped and the number of patients getting CRE at those hospitals drop to zero.

    We should expect all medical professionals to practice professionally and follow safe procedures to help avoid giving patients infections. Another government database and more government oversight isn’t going to do that.

  2. “Overuse and improper use of antibiotics over the years, both in the medical community and the livestock industry, has led to an increase in the number of bacteria that are drug-resistant.”

    I have seen no credible study linking use of antibiotics in livestock and drug resistant bacteria. I assume this is another Libtard scare that sounds plausible, but has no basis in fact.

    A close relative of mine, a nationally renowned physician, blames drug resistance on globalization. Drugs are often not properly administered in third world countries. Half-dosage, not running the full course, etc. Then third world people who weren’t treated properly travel here.

  3. I could even make the story scarier, based on what I heard from John Alverdy when I worked next door.

    Not only the Enterics grow resistant (and can share resistance genes with mates), but having developed resistance, they do not just ignore antibiotics and go about their routine. It is not uncommon for a non-virulent form to become virulent when challenged with antibiotics. Alverdy calls it “retaliation”.

    Oral antibiotics are passé. Next nightmare, please.

  4. I hate to admit it Steve but after all the chicken little catastrophes in my lifetime from SARS to Y2K to little ice age, I have a habit to discount all of these headline grabbing stories.

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