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Epidemiology, microbiology, and pathogenesis of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection

Souha S Kanj, MD
Daniel J Sexton, MD
Section Editor
Stephen B Calderwood, MD
Deputy Editor
Allyson Bloom, MD


Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a gram-negative nonfermenting bacillus, is a much-feared pathogen. The organism is common in the environment, especially in water, even contaminating distilled water [1,2]; it is also an important cause of infections associated with hot tubs and contaminated contact lens solutions [3,4]. Considerable attention is paid to P. aeruginosa as a potential pathogen in hospitals because:

It is often found in water in sinks and can contaminate respiratory equipment, which can serve as an environmental reservoir, especially in intensive care units

The organism displays a predilection for infecting immunocompromised hosts, including burn patients

P. aeruginosa is the most serious pathogen causing ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)

P. aeruginosa strains with resistance to multiple antibiotics have become common in some hospitals and regions

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Feb 16, 2017.
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