In Wednesday's Healthier Me, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is calling for urgent action to stop the spread of drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals across the country.
The group of bacteria, called Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE, kills up to half the patients who get it in their bloodstreams, and CRE infections are rising dramatically at hospitals across the country.
The CDC says CRE bacteria have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics over the past decade, leaving infected patients with no good treatment options.
Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, CDC Expert: "We know that these infections are very lethal. Among the patients who get serious infections with the CRE bacteria -- they get them in their bloodstream for example -- roughly half of those patients may die."
The CDC says during the first half of last year almost 200 health care facilities treated at least one infected patient. The people who are most at risk are patients in intensive care and those receiving chemotherapy or organ transplants.
So far 42 states, mostly northeastern, have reported CRE infections, and while CRE infections are still relatively uncommon, the CDC says hospitals need to act now to prevent the problem from getting bigger.
Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, CDC Expert: "It's careful attention to washing your hands, using alcohol-based hand sanitizer, wearing gowns and gloves when you are caring for these patients, cleaning equipment carefully."