Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gram-negative infections

Deborah sent me this link to a New York Times article from last week Rising Threat of Infections Unfazed by Antibiotics .

The article describes the problems caused by the rising prevalence of some gram-negative infections like Acinetobacter.

Doctors treating resistant strains of Gram-negative bacteria are often forced to rely on two similar antibiotics developed in the 1940s — colistin and polymyxin B. These drugs were largely abandoned decades ago because they can cause kidney and nerve damage, but because they have not been used much, bacteria have not had much chance to evolve resistance to them yet.

“You don’t really have much choice,” said Dr. Azza Elemam, an infectious-disease specialist in Louisville, Ky. “If a person has a life-threatening infection, you have to take a risk of causing damage to the kidney.”

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