Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection is difficult to eradicate due to the multiple (intrinsic and acquired) antibiotic resistance of bacteria and to their ability to produce a thick biofilm. Antibiotic treatment is hampered by poor antibiotic diffusion, efflux pump overexpression and the development of a persistent subpopulation with low metabolic activity. This is a cause for special concern in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) patients, where P. aeruginosa lung infection is the chief cause of morbidity and mortality. Combined tobramycin-ciprofloxacin treatment is routinely adopted due to the low frequency of resistant strains and its ostensible ability to control the infection. Nevertheless, symptoms usually recur, mainly due to the antibiotic persisters, which are difficult to detect in routine cultural microbiological assays. This chapter describes the issues involved in the microbiological diagnosis of P. aeruginosa lung infection in CF patients and the possible role of subinhibitory antibiotic concentrations in persister development and infection recurrence.
Part of the book: Pseudomonas aeruginosa