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Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE)

What are CRE?

Carbapenems are a group of antibiotics that are usually used to treat serious infections, and are considered antibiotics of last resort for some infections. Enterobacteriaceae are a family of germs that are found in normal human intestines (gut). Antibiotic resistance happens when antibiotics are no longer effective in killing a germ. CRE are a family of germs that are difficult to treat because they have high levels of resistance to antibiotics. Enterobacteriaceae can be resistant to antibiotics through several different mechanisms. Currently, the most urgent type of CRE is Carbapenemase-producing Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CP-CRE).

What are CP-CRE?

Carbapenemases are enzymes that break down (inactivate) carbapenem antibiotics. Carbapenemases increasingly have been reported in Enterobacteriaceae in recent years. Common types of carbapenemases are: Klebsiella pneumoniae carbapenemase (KPC), Verona integron-mediated metallo-beta-lactamase (VIM), New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM), Imipenemase (IMP), and Oxacillinase-48-like (OXA-48-like). CP-CRE are of increased public health concern due to the mobility of carbapenemases, increased risk of transmission, extensive drug resistance, and increased mortality. Therefore, detection of infected and colonized patients with CP-CRE is important for the prevention and containment of antibiotic resistance.

CRE Quick Facts



Page last updated: October 22, 2018

Page last reviewed: October 22, 2018