The threat from the pink corner

Ann Med. 2003;35(4):226-34. doi: 10.1080/07853890310001609.


In terms of numbers of isolates, the greatest present resistance problems arise with gram-positive pathogens (which stain purple/black in Gram's method), especially methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). But, is the MRSA problem--by its size--blinding us to something ultimately more dangerous: the slow emergence of gram-negative pathogens (which stain pink) with resistance to all reliable antibiotics? Although presently rare, 'pan-resistant' gram-negative bacteria--predominantly strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii--have more comprehensive resistance than any gram-positive pathogen. They already pose treatment problems in compromised hospital patients, especially in specialist units, as well in particular groups, such as cystic fibrosis patents. Disturbingly, there is a near-total lack of developmental antibiotics active against gram-negative pathogens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Gram-Negative Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / drug therapy*
  • Gram-Negative Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Humans


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents