HANNON INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO HELP COMBAT “NIGHTMARE BACTERIA”
CDC Warns of CRE Threat of ‘Present and Growing Danger’ To Nursing Homes and Hospital Patients
“In the wake of the just-issued Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report on Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), it is clear that action is needed to halt the spread of this deadly bacteria,” said Senator Kemp Hannon (R-Nassau). The report released on March 5th issues a call to action to protect patients from these deadly bacteria which can overpower nearly all treatments, resulting in the death of approximately half of the patients infected. CRE combines with other bacteria in the body to form drug resistant “superbugs.” The resistance to antibiotics leads to more hospitalized patients contracting lethal infections that are impossible to cure in some cases. Vulnerable elderly and ill populations are most susceptible to the bacteria.
“The CDC is referring to CRE as a ‘nightmare bacteria,’ because our strongest antibiotics are ineffective, leaving patients with potentially untreatable conditions” said Hannon. Currently, only six states require medical facilities to report incidences of CRE. Hannon’s proposed legislation will add New York to this list.
“Fortunately, CRE bacteria are not particularly common – yet,” said Hannon. “However, there has been an increase of reported cases of CRE in the past decade, particularly in the northeast. The bacteria are frequently spread by person-to-person contact, especially by hands, so one of the ways we can immediately cut down on the spread is to ensure doctors and staff make sure their hands are washed and kept clean,” explained Hannon.
The CDC released a “prevention toolkit” with several in-depth recommendations for hospitals, long-term care acute facilities, nursing homes and health departments designed to halt the spread of these deadly bacteria. They believe these critical prevention measures will significantly reduce cases of CRE deaths. In other countries where CRE appears to be more common, prevention efforts have demonstrated CRE spread can be controlled, and CRE rates were reduced by more than 70%.
Current New York law requires reporting of communicable diseases and hospital acquired infections for purposes of infection control and quality improvement. Legislation introduced by Senator Hannon will ensure that CRE is treated and reported as other communicable diseases or hospital acquired infections. “It is common sense that cases of CRE should be reported and tracked by the Department of Health to adequately address incidences of CRE and ensure appropriate control measures are being taken,” stated Hannon.
“This legislation along with implementation of the CDC’s recommendations for prevention will save lives and reduce the spread of CRE” said Hannon.