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February 1958

The Shock Syndrome Associated with Bacteremia Due to Gram-Negative Bacilli

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, and the Medical Service, University Hospitals.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;101(2):184-193. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260140016004

Antibiotics have caused remarkable changes in the incidence and management of infectious diseases. Infections due to Gram-positive organisms, notably those caused by pneumococci and streptococci, have diminished in incidence and in severity. On the other hand, this decline has been paralleled by a decided increase both in the frequency and in the severity of disease caused by Gram-negative bacteria, including the coliform group.1-9

This changing pattern has been attributed to at least two factors. First, the Gram-positive bacteria are effectively suppressed by chemotherapeutic agents. Secondly, there has been the emergence of an increasingly larger proportion of Gram-negative micro-organisms that are highly resistant to the action of available antibiotics.1-4 Studies in individual patients have shown that the relatively nonpathogenic strains of bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris, Aerobacter aerogenes, or Pseudomonas aeruginosa, may actually invade and cause infection during the course of antibiotic treatment.5-9 This paradox has

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