CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Infectious disease specialist Dr. Robert Ball says forms of Enterobacteriaceae are found in your colon and are usually harmless. However, one form called CRE fights most antibiotics.
"We have seen an increase in these normal bacteria inside of our body that have become resistant, not only, to old-fashioned antibiotics, but to the newest, most powerful antibiotics."
That resistance is what can make it dangerous and lethal if CRE infects a patient with an underlying heart, lung, or kidney condition. In severe cases, CRE kills up to half the people infected.
"These bacterial infections can attack any part or organ of the body or the entire bloodstream," explains Ball.
The CDC says those most at risk are usually in a hospital, a long-term care facility or nursing home.
Ball says you shouldn't be alarmed, but informed.
"They're relatively rare in the community. They are rare in hospitals also."
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control says 26 cases of CRE were reported in the state in 2011. Last year's numbers are still being calculated.
A spokeswoman with Roper St. Francis says they have not had any cases, and are taking precautions. We did not hear back from Trident Health or MUSC.