What is the CRE Superbug & Why Should You Be Worried?
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), CRE, which stands for carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, are a family of germs that are difficult to treat because they have high levels of resistance to antibiotics. Healthy people are far less likely to get CRE infections, rather those who are most at risk are patients in hospitals, care centers, nursing homes, and other medical settings. The patient population with the highest risk overall are those individuals undergoing long courses of certain antibiotics and those who use medical devices such as ventilators, urinary catheters and intravenous catheters.
CRE Reported to Contribute to Death of as many as 50% of Infected Patients
These superbugs are no small concern. Some CRE bacteria have become resistant to nearly all available antibiotics making infections from these bacteria very challenging to treat. In fact, Infections with these germs can be so deadly as to contribute to the death in as many as 50% of patients who become infected (CDC). Although CRE, HAIs (hospital acquired infections) and other ‘superbugs’ constitute a real threat, proper healthcare cleaning and disinfection procedures can be the best line of defense in reducing and eliminating these dangerous infections.
“Infections with these germs can be so deadly as to contribute to the death in as many as 50% of patients who become infected (CDC).”
CRE & Healthcare Cleaning
How does this impact medical cleaning? Well, in a number of ways. First, in a report prepared for the CDC, it was found that transmission of many healthcare acquired pathogens (HAPs) like CRE is related to the contamination of surfaces and equipment near the patient. For this reason, an emphasis on thorough cleaning can significantly reduce the likelihood of infection transmission.
“In a report prepared for the CDC, it was found that transmission of many healthcare acquired pathogens (HAPs) like CRE is related to the contamination of surfaces and equipment near the patient.”
Second, although these “superbugs” are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotic treatment, they still respond to effective disinfectant treatment. As the CDC reported, no data are available that show that antibiotic-resistant bacteria are less sensitive to the liquid chemical germicides than antibiotic-sensitive bacteria at currently used germicide contact conditions and concentrations. That means our best line of defense is to prevent the infection not treat it.
“Because treatment is often ineffective, our best line of defense is to prevent infections in the first place and not simply wait to treat them.”
So as long as your healthcare cleaning company is already utilizing hospital grade disinfectants that are proven effective against superbugs like CRE, they have the power to decontaminate surfaces that might otherwise spread CRE and other infections.
Working With Your Medical Cleaning Company to Reduce CRE & HAPs
In view of this information, hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, acute care centers and other healthcare facilities are urged to work with their medical cleaning companies to enhance the thoroughness of high touch surface cleaning as part of patient room cleaning in between patients.
“Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, acute care centers and other healthcare facilities are urged to work with their commercial cleaning companies to enhance the thoroughness of high touch surface cleaning.”
And hospitals with increased rates of infection caused by healthcare acquired pathogens (HAPs) should be even more vigilant about communicating with and confirming that their healthcare cleaning company is using products and methods that will improve patient outcomes and satisfaction by reducing the risk of CRE transmission. Do you know what kind of products your janitorial company is using? Are they approved for medical cleaning? Are their employees properly trained in medical cleaning and product specific training like ‘dwell times’. With serious even life threatening infections on the mind of patients and health care providers, it might be time to reevaluate your commercial cleaning company.