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Drug-resistant ‘superbug’ emerges in Travis County

Monday, February 4, 2019 by Tai Moses

Austin Public Health researchers are warning the public about the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria called carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. The number of cases of CRE in Travis County has been increasing since 2015. In 2017, APH investigated 37 cases of CRE, 18 of them in Travis County residents. CRE are considered a class of “superbug,” strains of bacteria that are resistant to most available antibiotics. According to the Centers for Disease Control, CRE are considered an “urgent” public health threat. CRE infections are extremely difficult to treat and are often fatal. People with weakened immune systems who are in hospitals or nursing homes are most at risk of being exposed to CRE; healthy individuals are not in danger. Prevention can minimize the spread of the germs. Public health officials recommend frequent hand-washing and sterilization of medical instruments. The November/December issue of the Travis County Medical Society Journal features a paper by APH scientists on the growing issue of CRE in Travis County.

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