Why are Gram negative bacteria such significant pathogens?
The picture to the right, borrowed from Chapter 20 in Bauman, illustrates the prevalence of Gram-negative nosocomial infections. These infections are huge in the United States, averaging around 5% of all hospitalizations (1 in 20 frequency) with the higher risk peds patients at over 10%. Total hospital acquired infections in 2002 was 1.7 million cases, with almost 100,000 deaths from them. That’s over a one in twenty mortality rate for something that we have learned is best controlled at the point of patient contact. As we can see from the graphic, over half of these nosocomial infections are due to the Gram negatives, followed by Gram-positives (primarily S. aureus,) then various fungi (primarily C. albicans.)
We’ll make this an opportunity to foster a discussion answering the question of the posting title, in the comment thread below. Again, bonus points are my bribe to you to promote participation. Here are the rules: one bonus per person here, and to get a bonus, it needs to not be something somebody has already said in the comment thread. I also require you not just quote me from lecture, say something interesting so we all can learn!