The emergence of multidrug-resistant gram-negative bacteria is challenging the treatment of serious nosocomial infections. This is an international trend that is mirrored in Singapore too. Reports of strains resistant to all currently available agents have surfaced here and possibly have taken root here as well. The direst situation is among the non-fermenters, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii. This is followed closely by the Enterobacteriaceae family with their array of extended-spectrum β-lactamases, AmpC β-lactamases and carbapenemases. There are also resistance mechanisms such as efflux pumps and porins downregulation that effect resistance against multiple classes of agents. Potentiating these developments is the dwindling “pipeline” of new agents. Hence, there is a real concern that we are running out of options for our patients. Novel antibiotic combinations, enhanced infection control, antibiotic cycling, computer-assisted programmes, and maybe in the distant future, non-antimicrobial agents is all that we have.
Gram-negative bacteria are important causes of urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections, healthcare-associated pneumonia, and intra-abdominal infections. The increasing resistance of Enterobacteriaceae is a significant challenge.
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