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Thanks to Chlorohexidine! Klebsialla pneumoniae can adapt to the last resort antibiotic colistin.

Updated: Feb 7, 2020

A recent study has found that Klebsialla pneumoniae can adapt to increasing concentration of chlorohexidine, an antiseptic widely found in mouthwash, wound dressings and topical applications. It was also shown that the resistance was not just restricted to chlorohexidine but it also leads to development of resistance against colistin, an antibiotic that is used as a last resort when the microorganism is resistant to all other antibiotics. This can be worrying since chlorohexidine plays a critical role in the current infection control practices. The adaptation to chlorohexidine and resistance to colistin was suggested to be linked to specific genetic mutations. The emergence of colistin resistance, which is already resistant to several antibiotic classes including carbanapens is a matter of extreme concern. The coauthor J. Mark Sutton, PhD, Scientific Leader, National Infections Service, Public Health England, Salisbury, UK suggested that if similar response is seen in hospitals, then we might need to revisit on how and where some types of critical antiseptics or disinfectants can be used in clinical settings.

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