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Ann Med. 2003;35(4):226-34.

The threat from the pink corner.

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Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring and Reference Laboratory, Health Protection Agency, Central Public Health Laboratory, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5HT, UK.


In terms of numbers of isolates, the greatest present resistance problems arise with gram-positive pathogens (which stain purple/black in Gram's method), especially methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). But, is the MRSA problem--by its size--blinding us to something ultimately more dangerous: the slow emergence of gram-negative pathogens (which stain pink) with resistance to all reliable antibiotics? Although presently rare, 'pan-resistant' gram-negative bacteria--predominantly strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii--have more comprehensive resistance than any gram-positive pathogen. They already pose treatment problems in compromised hospital patients, especially in specialist units, as well in particular groups, such as cystic fibrosis patents. Disturbingly, there is a near-total lack of developmental antibiotics active against gram-negative pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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