San Luis Obispo CRE Resource Center

What is CRE?

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Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, is a family of germs that includes common species like E. coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae. Often, these germs are found in the gut. But, it can spread like an infection. To fully understand what CRE is, it’s important to understand what carbapenems are. These are antibiotics that are used to treat serious infections, usually as a last resort. As their name implies, CREs are resistant to these drugs, sometimes making treatment very difficult.

Why Is It a Problem?

As mentioned above, CRE are resistant to our most powerful antibiotics. That means if they spread from person to person, they could cause something of an epidemic. Fortunately, with enough time, doctors can find an antibiotic that is effective against the CRE, as fully resistant germs are rare. However, if waiting is not an option, there are other treatments available.

Who is Usually Affected?

In general, people who are in good health aren’t affected by CRE. It is those who have chronic health problems that are at the most risk. For one, those who are sick generally have a weaker immune system, which allows CRE to thrive. And secondly, a common way CRE is spread is through medical equipment like ventilators or catheters. If one person is affected, it can spread to people who come in contact with that person’s wounds or stool.

who is affected

Noteworthy Cases

CRE infections are a somewhat new problem. This is because as we as a society sanitize everything more and more and use more antibiotics, the germs that survive become “superpowered.” They develop enzymes that prevent the antibiotics from damaging or killing the germ itself. As such, CRE becoming a more prevalent issue.

The main epicenter for these infections is California. There has been one major outbreak at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles in 2015. It left two dead, five infected, and at least 200 others at risk. CRE has been cropping up in other parts of the nation as well.

noteworthy cases


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