A highly resistant superbug known as CRE has been detected for the first time ever in four patients in Irish hospitals, it was confirmed this week.
The potentially fatal infection was first discovered in an Irish patient last year, with three more cases detected this year.

The fact that cases of carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, have been reported at all is deeply worrying, Doctor Robert Cunney, consultant microbiologist with the Irish National Health Protection Surveillance Center, told the press this week. The risk of death from becoming infected with it is therefore higher.

Patients most at risk are the critically ill who have intravenous drips in place. "It certainly can spread within hospitals. But we haven’t seen any reports of outbreaks here but that has become a major problem in Greece," he said.

Cunney added that a range of measures were required to bring the down rates of hospital-acquired infections, including good surveillance, hand hygiene, availability of single rooms, appropriate bed occupancy levels and appropriate use of antibiotics.