Prospects for the Prevention and Control of Pseudomonal Infection in Children with Cystic Fibrosis
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Most patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) experience recurrent and chronic endobronchial Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. It is possible to prevent or delay the onset of these chronic infections in most patients with CF by eliminating cross-infection and by early aggressive antibiotic treatment of the first positive sputum culture and of subsequent intermittent colonisation. Lung tissue damage is caused by activation of the immunologically specific inflammatory defence mechanisms of the lungs, which are initiated by the antibody response and dominated by polymorphonuclear neutrophil leucocytes and their proteolytic and oxidative products. This inflammation induces a phenotypic shift from nonmucoid to mucoid, alginate-producing phenotypes of P. aeruginosa which then grow, endobronchially, as a biofilm. Such biofilms are impossible to eradicate with antibiotics. By using chronic suppressive antibiotic maintenance therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs it is however, possible to maintain the lung function of these patients for a number of years.