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Pharmacotherapy. 2008 Feb;28(2):235-49. doi: 10.1592/phco.28.2.235.

The current state of multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacilli in North America.

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Center for Anti-Infective Research and Development, Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT, USA.


Although much of today's media focuses on multidrug-resistant gram-positive bacteria such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, resistance within gram-negative bacilli continues to rise, occasionally creating situations in which few or no antibiotics that retain activity are available. Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Escherichia coli and Klebsiella sp are emerging threats nationally. Although carbapenems are considered the antibiotic class of choice to treat ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae, the ability of these organisms to produce carbapenemases has now become apparent in some regions throughout the United States. Although still rare, Klebsiella sp that produce KPC-2 retain susceptibility only to tigecycline, polymyxins, and occasionally aminoglycosides. Multidrug resistance among Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter sp has always been apparent across many hospitals in the United States. Recent surveillance indicates increasing resistance to all currently available antibiotics, including carbapenems, cephalosporins, penicillins, fluoroquinolones, and aminoglycosides. Against many strains, only polymyxins retain activity; however, resistance has also been reported to these agents. Fortunately, resistance mechanisms such as metallo-beta-lactamases are still rare in the United States. As no new antibiotics with novel mechanisms against many of these gram-negative bacilli are expected to be developed in the foreseeable future, careful and conservative use of agents combined with good infection control practices is required.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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