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Superbug known as ‘phantom menace’ on the rise in U.S.
Washington Post

A particularly dangerous superbug, dubbed the “phantom menace” by scientists, is on the rise in the United States, according to a report Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This superbug’s strains belong to the family of bacteria known as CRE, which are difficult to treat because they are often resistant to most antibiotics. They are often deadly, too, in some instances killing up to 50 percent of patients who become infected, according to the CDC. Health officials have called CRE among the country’s most urgent public health threats.

The target of Thursday’s report is relatively new. Unlike more common types of CRE, it carries a plasmid, or mobile piece of DNA, with an enzyme that breaks down antibiotics. And what makes these bacteria even more dangerous is their ability to transfer that plasmid–and that antibiotic resistance–to normal bacteria that are present in our bodies.

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