Lively and in-depth discussions of city news, politics, science, entertainment, the arts, and more.
Hosted by Larry Mantle
Airs Weekdays 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

What you need to know about superbugs that LA’s sewage plants can’t kill




A worker cleans a wastewater pool at DC Water's Blue Plains plant in Washington, DC, on November 23, 2015.
A worker cleans a wastewater pool at DC Water's Blue Plains plant in Washington, DC, on November 23, 2015.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

Listen to story

05:20
Download this story 2MB

It must be something in Southern California’s water.

At least that’s the concern about people getting sick from a superbug despite not having recently visited a medical facility.  

Environmental Protection Agency officials just announced finding CRE, or carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae, in a plant that treats sewage from local hospitals with the rest of the region’s waste. That treated water then makes its way into a stream or straight to the Pacific Ocean. Scientists worry that swimmers and surfers are getting exposed to the antibiotic-resistant bug.

How bad is CRE?

“It’s actually very dangerous,” said Los Angeles Times reporter Melody Peterson. “If it gets into [the] blood stream, it kills half of its victims.”

While Peterson didn’t find any beachgoers who have been found to be infected with CRE, she notes that many people going into Southern California’s water are getting sick.

“Officials are constantly monitoring our beaches for raw sewage, but they aren't doing tests for the drug-resistant bacteria,” said Peterson. 

For more about the killer superbug and the steps officials are taking, hear the full conversation above. 

This story has been updated.