Outbreak of 'nightmare superbug' causing a stir


An outbreak in Illinois of what authorities have dubbed a nightmare bacteria is stirring up serious concern.

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) is a rare strain of bacteria with a fatality rate of almost 50 percent. It's made up of an enzyme that breaks down antibiotics making it very difficult to treat.

Between 2009 and 2013, fewer than 100 cases of the super germ were reportedly seen. Last year the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported 44 cases traced to a hospital in Chicago.

A doctor from the national institute of health told ABC-affiliated television station WHOI that most cases are found in hospitals and nursing homes and can travel from patient to patient. "It's an extremely potentially dangerous problem but we have a window of opportunity to contain it."

This is the largest outbreak on record of a bacteria with such a high fatality rate.

Illinois officials announced last week that a task force was being formed to deal with the potential spread of the germ.