Antibiotic Resistance Is a Global Public Health Crisis
As the result of widespread antibiotic use, many strains of bacteria have become resistant to formerly effective antibiotics, limiting therapeutic options for patients. The resistance problem has been recognized as an urgent threat by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Infectious Diseases Society of America. Of most concern are patients with bacterial infections that are resistant to multiple classes of antibiotics, referred to as multidrug-resistant (MDR), pandrug-resistant (PDR), or extensively drug-resistant (XDR) bacterial infections.
Types of Bacteria and the Infections They Cause
Bacteria can be broadly differentiated by the structure of their bacterial cell walls and comprise two primary categories: Gram-negative and Gram-positive.
- Gram-negative bacteria that have developed resistance to existing drugs include: Escherichia coli that causes urinary tract, intra-abdominal, skin, and bloodstream infections; Salmonella and E coli that cause foodborne infections; and Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Klebsiella pneumoniae species, which are responsible for serious infections, such as pneumonia, seen in patients in healthcare settings
- Gram-positive bacteria that have developed resistance to existing drugs include Streptococcus pneumoniae that causes pneumonia, ear infections, bloodstream infections, and meningitis; Staphylococcus aureus that causes skin, bone, lung, and bloodstream infections; and Enterococcus that can be involved in abdominal and urinary tract infections