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Antibiotic-resistant bacteria called CRE small in number but seen as deadly threat

Infections caused by carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae can be impossible to treat. A family of drug-resistant bacteria that experts say kills up to 50 percent of people infected is spreading in Chicago and elsewhere, prompting doctors and public health officials to step up efforts to protect patients.

Infections caused by these germs — called carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, or CRE — are still rare, but they are difficult and sometimes impossible to treat. Carbapenems are antibiotics used as a last-resort treatment for seriously ill people.

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