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'Nightmare' Superbug Cases Rise in Illinois Health-Care Facilities

Antibiotic resistant bacteria are becoming so strong and so prevalent that they’ve dubbed a “nightmare” by the Chicago Tribune, which is reporting on the 27 percent growth of these dangerous superbugs around the city last year. The latest superbug is called CRE, short for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, which withstands many of the strongest antibiotics.

The race to stay ahead of CRE and MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has been ongoing and intense for the past few years, but even so we continue to lose the battle. In fact the CDC reported in 2013 that we are fighting no less than 18 different superbugs right now, and they are “urgent, serious, and concerning threats” to humankind.

Unfortunately, hospitals are the most common source of this infection, which is lethal in about 9 percent of all cases, and when CRE infection affects the blood, the death rate jumps to 50 percent. In the U.S., more than 2 million people are affected by hospital-acquired infections every year, and 100,000 people die as a result.

If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of requiring hospitalization, then I strongly suggest being proactive in your care. There are strategies you can use to minimize your chances for adverse events related to your hospital stay. A good start is to listen to my interview with Dr. Andrew Saul, who is an expert on this matter.

Ideally, you should also have a personal advocate with you when you’re in a hospital — someone who can look after your best interests in the event you’re unable to speak for yourself.
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