The Fight against Potentially Deadly Bacteria

Local News

A bacteria resistant to antibiotics is making its way around the state.

“Recently in the city of Chicago and the collar communities around Chicago, they’ve seen an increase in the past few years in the number of diagnosed related to it,” said Monica Hendrickson with the Peoria City/County Health Department.

The bacteria, commonly known as CRE, has gone up by 7 percent across the state.

It normally affects elderly people with weak immune systems, and people who have a history of being sick for a long period of time.

“If you’ve been in a healthcare facility, and exposed to antibiotics, you could develop these organisms,” said Dr. John Farrell with OSF Health.

That’s because your body becomes immune to the medicine before you catch the bug.

About 9,000 cases are reported each year across the country; Peoria had 50 cases last year.

The high rate of death comes from a tough treatment process.

“Treatment of an infection like this is a collaborative process, it’s not the doctors acting alone, there’s an entire team of experts in the lab…It is possible to have this organism and not know you have it,” Dr. Farrell said.

Often times, the treatment is a higher doses of medicine. That too can create problems.

“We don’t necessarily want to expose those high risk or high level antibiotics because we don’t want organisms to resist those as well,” Hendrickson said.

Now, some doctors are re-thinking antibiotics all together for common illnesses.

“Colds are viral and so in that time they expect to get some sort of medication rather than just the usual or what they need, rest,” Hendrickson said.

Doctors say treatment is possible for the bacteria in the form of other medicine that will kill the bug.

Several healthcare providers usually work together to prevent the spread from patient to patient. 

Doctors say they’ve been treating the bacteria since 2001 in Illinois. 

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