Clinical impact of clonal Pseudomonas aeruginosa in cystic fibrosis (2007–2010)
In patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), the normal defence mechanisms are compromised by an inherent genetic fault which results in an extremely sticky and dehydrated mucus. The respiratory system is unable to eradicate microbes (infection) from the lungs of patients with CF which begin to multiply and cause infection and inflammation. Recurring infections are treated with multiple courses of antibiotics and frequent hospitalisation and eventually result in premature death.
This study focuses on the major bacterial problem, Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Several studies from Australia and the UK, including our own have shown that about 30% to 45% of patients share the same strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa within a centre. We know that two dominant strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa are found in CF centres on the eastern board of Australia. This is unexpected as this bacterium is usually acquired from the environment. The emergence of these clonal strains is causing increasing anxiety in the CF community.
This study is designed to provide vitally needed information on the clinical implications of being infected by an clonal strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and the risk factors for the acquisition of an clonal strain. This new information will provide a rationale basis for the need for changes to infection control policies (including patient segregation), better outcome predictors for patients infected with clonal strain of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.