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

The threat from the pink corner.

Author information

1
Antibiotic Resistance Monitoring and Reference Laboratory, Health Protection Agency, Central Public Health Laboratory, 61 Colindale Avenue, London NW9 5HT, UK. david.livermore@hpa.org.uk

Abstract

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.

PMID:
12846264
DOI:
10.1080/07853890310001609
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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