The CDC says infections from the CRE bacteria have become increasingly resistant to antibiotics and the number of cases has been rising dramatically at hospitals across the country.
According to Dr. Arjun Srinivasan who's with the CDC, "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 CDCsays 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, or those receiving chemotherapy or organ transplants.
CRE infections are still relatively uncommon. But the CDC says hospitals need to act now to prevent the problem from getting bigger
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.
Health experts say identifying which patients have the bacteria and making sure health care workers don't inadvertently spread it from patient to patient
are two key steps to take.
So far 42 states including Pennsylvania have reported CRE infections. Most are here in the northeast.