Home E-Weekly September 2, 2014

Researchers Pinpoint 2 Most Common Causes of Endophthalmitis

Published: September 2, 2014

Researchers have identified staphylococci and streptococci bacterial strains as the most common cause of endophthalmitis, the debilitating eye surgery complication that can cause blindness, according to their account in the journal Ophthalmology.

The investigators assessed a total of 988 microbes noted in records of endophthalmitis events occurring between 1987 and 2011 at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai in Manhattan in order to identify the pathogens that caused the condition. Their findings report that most infections were caused by gram-positive bacteria, with nearly all successfully treated with the common antibiotics vancomycin and ceftazidime.

However, they also found that the bacteria were increasingly resistant to several first-generation antibiotics, including cephalosporins and methicillin. Resistance to the latter increased incidences of endophthalmitis by 28% since the late 1980s, they say.

"This is consistent with what other physicians have found throughout the United States with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus causing severe skin and soft-tissue infections," says study lead author Ronald C. Gentile, MD, professor of ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and chief of ocular trauma service at NYEE.

The researchers say their findings are important in the context of the CDC identifying antimicrobial resistance as one of the country's most serious health threats. They call for the judicious use of antibiotics, and suggest using therapy that is most effective against endophthalmitis.

Daniel Cook

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