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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bugs, biofilms, and resistance in cystic fibrosis

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Bugs, biofilms, and resistance in cystic fibrosis.

Davies JC, Bilton D.

Department of Gene Therapy, Imperial College, Emmanuel Kaye Building, Manresa Road, London SW3 6NP, United Kingdom. j.c.davies@imperial.ac.uk.

Bacteria infect the respiratory tract early in the course of cystic fibrosis disease, often fail to be eradicated, and together with an aggressive host inflammatory response, are thought to be key players in the irreversible airway damage from which most patients ultimately die. Although incompletely understood, certain aspects of the cystic fibrosis airway itself appear to favor the development of chronic modes of survival, in particular biofilm formation; this and the development of antibiotic resistance following exposure to multiple antibiotic courses lead to chronic, persistent infection. In addition to the common cystic fibrosis pathogens, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Haemophilus influenzae, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, several newer species are becoming more common. Furthermore, new molecular techniques have led to the identification of multiple different organisms within respiratory secretions, many of which are not cultured with conventional tools. Future work should aim to develop clinically applicable methods to identify these and to determine which have the potential to impact pulmonary health. We outline the basic tenets of infection control and treatment.

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