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Changing bacteriology of abdominal and surgical sepsis

Chen, Yen-Hsua,b; Hsueh, Po-Renc

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: October 2012 - Volume 25 - Issue 5 - p 590–595
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0b013e32835635cb
GASTROINTESTINAL INFECTIONS: Edited by Nicholas J. Beeching and A. Clinton White

Purpose of review This review focuses on recent changes in epidemiological aspects of bacteria-induced intra-abdominal infections (IAIs), including the dominant pathogens, antimicrobial susceptibility profiles, and emerging resistance phenotypes.

Recent findings Enterobacteriaceae species, including Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, remain the major pathogens contributing to abdominal sepsis, although Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii have recently become common causes of hospital-acquired IAIs. The prevalence of multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacilli, especially those that produce extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs), has increased worldwide, although the distribution of those organisms varies from region to region. Furthermore, recent changes in interpretive breakpoints for antimicrobial susceptibility testing recommended by the Clinical Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) and the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing (EUCAST) have resulted in a marked increase in the reported rates of resistance among Gram-negative bacilli to carbapenems, extended-spectrum cephalosporins, and fluoroquinolones. Besides, routine detection and reporting of ESBL phenotypes for clinical isolates have not been recommended after following new interpretive breakpoints. More studies are needed to investigate the impacts of these changes on therapeutic strategies and epidemiological surveillance. In addition, pathogens carrying New Delhi metallo-β-lactamases (NDMs), K. pneumoniae carbapenemases (KPCs), and other carbapenemases show extended resistance to currently available antibiotics and rapid transfer between species and countries. Although some of these pathogens are still susceptible to tigecycline and colistin, rates of resistance to these two agents are rising.

Summary Abdominal sepsis due to multidrug-resistant bacteria, especially ESBL producers, and international and interspecies spreading of metallo-β-lactamase raise key therapeutic problems.

aDivision of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine

bGraduate Institute of Medicine, Tropical Medicine Research Center, College of Medicine, Kaohsiung Medical University

cDepartment of Laboratory Medicine and Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence to Dr Po-Ren Hsueh, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, No. 7 Chung-Shan S. Road, Taipei 100, Taiwan. Tel: +886 2 2312345x65355; fax: +886 2 23224263; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.