Although the deadly CRE superbug bacteria was considered a public health threat long before the recent outbreaks at UCLA and Cedars-Sinai, there are currently no federal reporting requirements and only 20 states have imposed their own rules.
In 2011, L.A. County officials found 675 cases of CRE among patients at hospitals, nursing homes and long-term acute-care facilities over a one-year period.
Hospitals should be on the lookout for possible CRE cases and be ready to take appropriate precautions to protect other patients and staff. They should also begin to develop reporting methods in preparation for mandatory reporting.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) told the LA Times that he plans to introduce legislation soon that would require hospitals to report CRE cases to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "I don't see how we can combat superbugs if the CDC doesn't even know the full scope of the problem," Lieu said. "We should have uniform national reporting for all hospitals."