CDC warns public of 'nightmare bacteria'

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) -- A recently released report from the CDC highlights a "nightmare bacteria" that was found more than 220 times across the nation through the first nine months of 2017.

Here in North Carolina, the CDC reported there have been at least three instances of an unusual gene of CRE, an antibiotic-resistant bacteria that have been found in people who became ill.

"The bugs that (CDC was) describing are resistant to some of the strongest antibiotics that we have. And we've seen these here in North Carolina. I've taken care of patients with these bugs," said Dr. Tony Moody at Duke University Hospital.

During the past couple years, the CDC has increased their efforts in stopping the spread of such bacteria, setting up anti-resistant labs in all 50 states, as well as seven regional locations.

Dr. Moody said these sorts of bacteria can be difficult to track.

"The report just stated that we're seeing more of these things. We know that they're coming in from different parts of the world. These bugs circulate all over the place. We know that there have been some particularly resistant strains that are out there, some in Asia, some in other parts of the world. And they get brought here because people travel all over the place," Dr. Moody explained.

State epidemiologist Dr. Zack Moore explained the state's strategy for fighting this type of bacteria.

"Make sure that if the person is in a healthcare facility that there's good infection prevention, so it's not going to spread around. We look to see if there's any transmission that's gone on," Moore said.

Certain people are more at risk for contracting such strains.

"Certainly people whose immune systems are compromised. People who are frail - that means both the extremely young and the older populations - those are going to be the ones most at risk. Mainly because their immune systems have the hardest time dealing with these kind of things," Moody said.

Overall, the CDC notes CRE with this type of unusual resistance remains very rare.

There are some simple tips to help stay healthy:

1) Tell your doctor if you've received health care in another country

2) Only take antibiotics as prescribed

3) Wash your hands regularly
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