Authorities in both the United States and Great Britain are outlining a potentially catastrophic threat to public health: a spike in the appearance of drug-resistant bacteria in healthcare institutions. And there's reason to believe that the so-called "superbug" could be a longer-term problem here, especially given the lack of a response plan and especially for older people in the U.S. No location is exactly safe, but before you freak out, here's some much needed context.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control held a press conference to brief reporters on CRE; officially, carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae. In layman's terms, CRE are bacteria which live inside the body but can cause infections if they travel out of the gut. The title "Carbapenem-resistant" indicates those bacteria resistant to a particular class of antibiotic ? an increasing occurrence. Subsequent interviews with health officials have, in turn, seen an increasing occurrence of words like "catastrophic" being bandied about.