Recent Outbreaks Raise CRE Concerns

March 11th, 2015 / Luminex Corporation

Three recent outbreaks of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) are shining light on the dangers associated with multi-drug resistant infections. CRE infections are especially difficult to treat because they are resistant to nearly all available antibiotics. For this reason, they are sometimes referred to as “superbugs.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mortality rates associated with CRE infections can be as high as 50%.

The February CRE outbreak at a medical center in Southern California affected up to 179 patients and caused two deaths. Two weeks after this was reported, a second Southern California hospital confirmed that four patients were infected with CRE, and 67 others are being tested for the infection. Between 2012 and 2014, a similar outbreak occurred at a hospital in the Pacific Northwest, where 32 patients were ultimately affected. All three situations have been linked to the use of contaminated duodenoscopes.

While previously considered rare in the U.S., the CDC notes that 48 states have had confirmed cases of CRE, and hospital-based outbreaks similar to those in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest have occurred in Pittsburgh and Chicago.

The Verigene® Gram-Negative Blood Culture Test (BC-GN) is the first and only FDA-cleared test that rapidly identifies the five carbapenem resistance genes most commonly associated with CRE. BC-GN detects CRE days faster than current testing methods, potentially enabling clinicians to optimize treatment of patients and hospitals to enact infection control measures in a more timely and efficient manner.


  1. Superbug Linked to 2 Deaths at UCLA Hospital; 179 Potentially Exposed. Los Angeles Times.
  2. ‘Superbug’ Infections Hit Another Los Angeles Hospital. ABC News.
  3. Tracking CRE. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.