By Liz Crawford
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WFMY) - There's a dangerous bacteria sweeping across the country, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention want to contain it before it gets out of hand.
After the CDC released their report about CRE, scary headlines popped up all over the country calling it the "nightmare bacteria", "a real threat," and a "super bug."
INFO GRAPHIC: How the super bug works
The death rate makes this disease scarier than others. Forty percent of people who get CRE will die. It's a bacteria that regular antibiotics can't treat, and now it's spreading.
"While it's been around for a few years here in the United States and different medical centers have seen it, it's now spread into some community hospitals," said Christopher Ohl, MD, an infectious diseases expert at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "So, hospitals who haven't had the problem before are starting to get it, so it's spreading geographically across the United States."
CRE picks on the weakest of patients. Dr. Ohl said it shows up in hospitals and sometimes nursing homes. Most large hospitals on the East Coast see a handful of CRE patients each year, including Wake Forest Baptist and Moses Cone.
Representatives from Baptist and Cone told WFMY News 2's Liz Crawford that when they identify someone with CRE, they immediately isolate the patient. Dr. Ohl said isolation is crucial to prevent the disease from spreading.
It's important to note that the majority of Americans don't have anything to worry about. The people who get these infections tend to have compromised immune systems and spend most of their time in the hospital.
Another strange factor about CRE is you might not know if you have it. Like any bacteria, you could have the bacteria within your system and not know it. If something else develops, like a urinary tract infection or pneumonia, CRE could be the cause.
That's why the CDC is ringing the alarm. They want hospitals to be vigilant in detecting this "nightmare bacteria" so it doesn't spread.