(1) A species of gram-negative bacteria, aerobic, rod-shaped and commonly isolated from clinical specimens (wound, burn, and urinary tract infections). It is also found widely distributed in soil and water. P. Aeruginosa is a major agent of nosocomial infection.
(2) aeruginosa is member of the Gamma Proteobacteria class of Bacteria. It is a Gram-negative, aerobic rod belonging to the bacterial family Pseudomonadaceae. Since the revisionist taxonomy based on conserved macromolecules (e.g. 16S ribosomal RNA) the family includes only members of the genus Pseudomonas which are cleaved into eight groups. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the type species of its group. which contains 12 other members.
Like other members of the genus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a free-living bacterium, commonly found in soil and water. However, it occurs regularly on the surfaces of plants and occasionally on the surfaces of animals. Members of the genus are well known to plant microbiologists because they are one of the few groups of bacteria that are true pathogens of plants. In fact, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is occasionally a pathogen of plants. However, Pseudomonas aeruginosa has become increasingly recognized as an emerging opportunistic pathogen of clinical relevance. Several different epidemiological studies track its occurrence as a nosocomial pathogen and indicate that antibiotic resistance is increasing in clinical isolates.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen, meaning that it exploits some break in the host defenses to initiate an infection. In fact, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the epitome of an opportunistic pathogen of humans. The bacterium almost never infects uncompromised tissues, yet there is hardly any tissue that it cannot infect if the tissue defenses are compromised in some manner. It causes urinary tract infections, respiratory system infections, dermatitis, soft tissue infections, bacteremia, bone and joint infections, gastrointestinal infections and a variety of systemic infections, particularly in patients with severe burns and in cancer and AIDS patients who are immunosuppressed. Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is a serious problem in patients hospitalized with cancer, cystic fibrosis, and burns. The case fatality rate in these patients is near 50 percent.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is primarily a nosocomial pathogen. According to the CDC, the overall incidence of P. aeruginosa infections in U.S. hospitals averages about 0.4 percent (4 per 1000 discharges), and the bacterium is the fourth most commonly-isolated nosocomial pathogen accounting for 10.1 percent of all hospital-acquired infections.