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CDC map shows killer bacteria presence in Pennsylvania, 41 other states

| Thursday, March 7, 2013, 12:08 a.m.

Pennsylvania is among 42 states that have reported cases of largely untreatable infections caused by a drug-resistant bacteria called CRE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on its website.

The bacteria, officially known as carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, kill up to half of patients who get bloodstream infections from them, the CDC warned in a new report on Tuesday. The report did not say how many patients the bacteria killed.

CRE cases were identified in the report only by region — Northeast, Midwest, South, etc. A CDC spokeswoman on Tuesday would not identify the states where cases have been confirmed. On Wednesday, the Trib found the accompanying map on the CDC's website showing the 42 states with reported cases.

The superbug has not been found in the community at large. Infections typically occur in patients who often have catheters or ventilators and are receiving medical care in hospitals, long-term acute-care facilities or nursing homes. The bacteria have been more prevalent in the Northeast region, which includes Pennsylvania, the CDC said.

Only six states require CRE cases to be reported to health officials. Pennsylvania does not require reporting.

The bacteria are part of a family of germs that are a normal part of a healthy digestive system. They cause infections, usually of the bloodstream or urinary tract, when they get into the bladder or blood. Some species of the bacteria have become resistant to almost all antibiotics.

Luis Fábregas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7998 or lfabregas@tribweb.com.

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