With reports of a potentially deadly superbug spreading in healthcare settings across the U.S., professional cleaning, sterilization and infection control services are more important than ever.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), rates of unusual superbugs known as Carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae (CRE) have nearly doubled in recent months.
While still relatively uncommon, the CDC believes some alarm is warranted:
“This increase highlights the need for U.S. health care providers to act aggressively to prevent the emergency and spread of these unusual CRE organisms.”
CREs are a form of bacteria that has developed high levels of resistance to antibiotics — including last-resort carbapenems antibiotics (hence their name). They typically affect ailing patients that require ventilator or catheter devices, but they can infect almost any vulnerable patient.
The bugs are particularly prevalent in certain areas of the country, including the Northeast and long-term acute-care hospitals
The CDC’s health advisory is calling for stricter hygiene and sanitation precautions, as well as increased patient screening.
CDC director Tom Frieden also offered some advice last week to healthcare providers via Twitter:
“Healthcare providers: Wash your hands before touch a patient everything! Prevent CRE.”
When it comes to cleaning and sanitation, the CDC also has some recommendations:
- Using dedicated non-critical medical equipment
- Assigning a dedicated cleaning staff to affected patient care units
- Increasing cleaning and disinfection, especially on high traffic areas (e.g., bedrails, charts, bedside commodes, doorknobs)
The CDC’s 2012 toolkit also recommends that healthcare providers lessen their use of catheters, endotracheal tubes and other invasive medical devices known for spreading the infection.
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