LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A new threat emerges as a strand of untreatable and potentially deadly bacteria has begun spreading throughout the U.S., and health officials say one of these bugs is in Los Angeles.
The bacteria, called C.R.E., is spreading throughout hospitals all across the country. These “superbugs” are resistant to almost all antibiotics, have high mortality rates, and can spread their resistance to other bacteria.
Dr. Suman Radhakrishna, the chair of infection control at the California Hospital Medical Center, says that these bacteria are usually found in the colon.
“They can cause bloodstream infections, urinary type infections, and bowel infections,” Dr. Radhakrishna said.
These infections have been fought by hospitals and long-term care centers for years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the superbugs have now been found in 42 states.
Dr. Radhakrishna reports that this bug is allowed to spread by the combination of excessive antibiotic use with the failure of health care workers to wash their hands.
“If they don’t wash their hands between patients, they are liable to carry the infection from one person to another,” Radhakrishna said. “So the entire community gets exposed to these bacteria, and then its a problem.”
The Los Angeles County Department of Health says they first became aware of these infections in 2010.