Aminoglycoside-Resistant Escherichia coli

Aminoglycoside-Resistant Escherichia coli

Aminoglycoside resistance more than tripled in 10 years

Background

Escherichia coli, a member of the Enterobacteriaceae family of bacteria, is among the most frequently encountered species in the clinical setting. Although it naturally inhabits the human gut, E. coli can cause serious illness and death and has become familiar to the public as a source of serious food-borne intestinal disease.

Despite this notoriety, the bacterium’s primary role as an extraintestinal pathogen is often neglected: it is the leading cause of uncomplicated urinary tract infections (UTIs), an indication resulting in 7 million to 8 million physician visits annually just in the United States. Using the urinary tract as a gateway, UTIs can progress to serious bloodstream infections. Aminoglycosides are IV antibiotics that can be used to treat serious hospital-acquired Gram-negative infections. Resistance to these drugs is disconcerting because persistent infections may require treatment with newer, more expensive drugs of last resort.