The term "superbug" conjures images of movies like "Contagion." The name "nightmare bacteria" isn't any better.
That's what health care officials are calling an untreatable, drug-resistant and sometimes deadly bacteria and that is spreading through the U.S. Now, one of these bugs is in Los Angeles, CBS reports.
The "nightmare bacteria," also called C.R.E., is appearing in hospitals because of excessive antibiotic use and failure of health care workers to wash their hands.
The bacteria is a "triple threat" because it is resistant to almost all antibiotics, has high mortality rates, and can spread resistance to other bacteria. It can cause infections in the bloodstream, urinary tract and bowel.
Dr. Suman Radhakrishna, the chair of infection control at the California Hospital Medical Center, said the superbug is cause for concern but not panic. People who have been ill with multiple medical problems are the ones who are more likely to die from C.R.E., she told CBS.
Hospitals have battled with these infections for years but the superbugs have now been found in 42 states. The LA County Department of Health first became aware of these infections in 2010. Federal officials are urging hospitals to take urgent action.