Doctors Struggle to Contain New Bacteria

ABC News' Dr. Richard Besser has the details on this nightmare bug.
2:06 | 03/06/13

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Transcript for Doctors Struggle to Contain New Bacteria
And now, we want to show you the fast and urgent fight under way by doctors in this country tonight. They are trying to contain a new bacteria, a kind of ordinary bacteria antibiotics don't reach. And even the cdc has called it a nightmare. Abc's chief medical editor dr. Richard besser takes us to the front lines to show us what the doctors are doing. Reporter: Isolation rooms. Surveillance cameras. Hospitals in a race against time to contain nightmare super bacteria. Before it spreads from the hospital out into the world. How big a deal would it be if cre got out of the hospital and set up shot in the community? It would be nothing short of catastrophic. Reporter: This is the enemy. A group of intestinal bacteria called cre. Practically antibiotic proof. The cdc estimates thousands of patients in hospitals have it. But it's highly contagious and spreading fast. In nearly 200 hospitals and nurs2 states. The bacteria is spread from patient to patient by the hands of health care workers. And here's the scary part -- these almost untreatable superbugs alter other bacteria, so that they fight off drugs, as well. This can cause life threatening infections. So, hospitals pull out the stops. At montefiore hospital, isolation rooms stand at the ready, and special dedicated equipment are just for cre patients. Some use video cameras to police hand washing. Here, they even posted medical students as spotters to make sure everyone's washing their hands. And that's where the hand washing spies can be very helpful. I call them observers. Reporter: With these superbugs, it's a matter of life and death. If you want to make sure you don't get this infection, here's what you do. When you're in the hospital, before anyone touches you, ask them to wash their hands. Then, ask them to wash them again before they leave the room. It's not easy to do, but it's so incredibly important. So, you are stressing wash again when you leave the room so it doesn't spread. Reporter: That's right. Take nothing out. All right, thank you, rich.

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