Gram-positive bacteria to include methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), and enterococci, to include vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), display a remarkable array of resistance and virulence factors, which have contributed to their prominent role in infections of the critically ill. Over the last three decades infections with these pathogens has increased as has their overall resistance to available antimicrobial agents. This has led to the development of a number of new antibiotics for the treatment of Gram-positive bacteria. At present, it is important that clinicians recognize the changing resistance patterns and epidemiology of Gram-positive bacteria as these factors may impact patient outcomes. The increasing range of these pathogens, such as the emergence of community-associated MRSA clones, emphasizes that all specialties of physicians treating infections should have a good understanding of the infections caused by Gram-positive bacteria in their area of practice. When initiating empiric antibiotics, it is of vital importance that this therapy be timely and appropriate, as delays in treatment are associated with adverse outcomes. Although vancomycin has traditionally been considered a first-line therapy for serious MRSA infections, multiple concerns with this agent have opened the door for alternative agents demonstrating efficacy in this role. Similarly, the expansion of VRE as a pathogen in the ICU setting has required the development of agents targeting this important pathogen.
- Gram-positive cocci
- Staphylococcus aureus