Enterobacteriaceae is a family of gram-negative, rod-shaped bacteria that are commonly found in soil, water, plants and animals and can cause common infections such as urinary tract infections. Some of these bacteria have become resistant to carbapenem antibiotics and are known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE). When this resistance is mediated by a group of enzymes called carbapenemase, these bacteria are referred to as carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE).
CPE are commonly transmitted in hospitals. The major risk factor appears to be receipt of care in health care settings that have CPE. For instance, hospitals along the U.S. eastern seaboard, in particular New York City (KPC), Greece (KPC), Israel (KPC) and the Indian subcontinent (NDM-1).
CPE is considered to be a significant health concern.The case fatality rate for serious infections may be as high as 50%. Because CPE are resistant to many antibiotics that are considered the last line of defense, treatment of infections with CPE is difficult.