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Emergence of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae in Orange County, California, and support for early regional strategies to limit spread.

  • Author(s): Gohil, Shruti K;
  • Singh, Raveena;
  • Chang, Justin;
  • Gombosev, Adrijana;
  • Tjoa, Tom;
  • Zahn, Matthew;
  • Steger, Patti;
  • Huang, Susan S
  • et al.


The east-to-west spread of carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) represents an opportunity to explore strategies to limit spread in nonendemic areas. We evaluated CRE emergence and regional support for containment strategies.


A 17-question cross-sectional survey was administered to infection prevention programs in Orange County, CA (31 hospitals serving 3 million residents), between January and September 2014. Questions addressed newly detected hospital- and community-onset CRE cultures (2008-2013), current CRE control strategies, and support for prevention strategies for a hypothetical regional intervention.


Among 31 hospitals, 21 (68%, representing 17 infection prevention programs) completed the survey. CRE was scarcely detected between 2009-2010; within 4 years, 90% of hospitals reported CRE, with 2.5-fold higher community-onset than hospital-onset CRE. Between 2011 and 2013, annual CRE incidence increased 4.7-fold (1.4-6.3 cases/10,000 admissions). Support for a regional CRE prevention bundle was unanimous. Although 22% bathed patients positive for CRE with chlorhexidine gluconate and 11% actively screened for CRE, 86% and 57%, respectively, would consider these strategies in a regional intervention.


CRE epidemiology in Orange County parallels early progression previously seen in now-endemic areas, representing an opportunity to consider interventions to prevent endemic spread. Many facilities would consider proactive strategies, such as chlorhexidine bathing, in the setting of a regional collaborative.

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