Infections with bacteria resistant to carbapenems, a group of highly effective antibiotics, pose a significant threat to patients and healthcare systems in all EU/EEA countries, warns ECDC in a Rapid Risk Assessment.
Resistance to carbapenems has been reported with increasing frequency and geographical spread since the beginning of the 1990s. The global rise of carbapenem resistance in a certain family of bacteria called Enterobacteriaceae, or carbapenem-resistant Enterobactericaeae (CRE), represents a threat to healthcare delivery and patient safety.
“We should be very concerned about the rise in carbapenem resistance in the EU/EEA as there are very few options for the treatment of patients with CRE infections” says Dominique Monnet, Head of ECDC’s Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare-Associated Infections Programme. “In recent years, the proportions of carbapenem resistance in Klebsiella pneumoniae – a type of Enterobacteriaceae – rapidly increased to high levels in Greece, Italy and Romania. The same could happen to other EU/EEA countries if appropriate measures are not taken. But the spread of CRE can likely be controlled in most countries through the implementation of appropriate prevention and control measures in hospitals and other healthcare settings.”