Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)

The House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee should hold hearings on deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacteria on the rise, according to a March 7 letter from lawmakers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information about Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) on March 5. CRE kills about half of all people it infects, is resistant to antibiotics and spreads this resistance to other germs. That could make antibiotics useless to someone who is infected, top public health officials warned.

The number of CRE infections grew seven-fold in the last 10 years, with hospitals and long-term care facilities in 42 states reporting cases.

In their letter, Democratic Reps. Henry A. Waxman (CA), Frank Pallone Jr. (NJ) and Diana DeGette (CO) said the committee should hear from healthcare providers, researchers and health agency representatives.

“These hearings should be held as quickly as possible to examine the appropriate federal response to this serious threat,” the letter stated.

The CDC released resources to help nursing homes and other facilities with CRE prevention and control.