CRE, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, are a group of bacteria that are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. They are becoming a growing threat to public health because they cannot be treated with carbapenems, a type of antibiotics usually used to treat severe infections. CRE is most often spread in healthcare settings through contact with wounds or infected stool. Patients can also get a CRE infection from medical devices such as catheters or ventilators. Patients with compromised immune systems are at a much higher risk for a CRE infection. While CRE are often resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics, they may still be treatable with one or more antibiotics. Decisions on treatment of CRE infections should be made on a case-by-case basis by a health care provider.
Appropriate antibiotic use is one of the most important things we can do in order to prevent CRE infections. Use antibiotics only as prescribed by a health care provider. Finish the entire course as directed, even if you start to feel better. Good handwashing practices are also important, because drug-resistant infections are often spread by hand-to-hand transmission.
This booklet provides basic information about caring for yourself and others diagnosed with multidrug-resistant gram-negative rods, like CRE.
Resources for Health Care Providers:
- Guidelines for carbapenem-resistant organisms in Vermont: Roles, Laboratory Testing, and Infection Prevention
- Vermont Department of Health CRE laboratory instructions from the Vermont Department of Health laboratory
- CDC CRE website for clinicians
- Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology CRE
- CDC toolkit Facility Guidance for Control of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)
- AHRQ toolkit Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) Control and Prevention Toolkit