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 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 may be difficult.