July 1st – Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a common Gram-negative, rod-shaped bacterium that can cause disease in plants and animals, including humans. A species of considerable medical importance, P. aeruginosa is a multidrug resistant pathogen recognised for its ubiquity, its intrinsically advanced antibiotic resistance mechanisms, and its association with serious illnesses – hospital-acquired infections such as ventilator-associated pneumonia and various sepsis syndromes. The organism is considered opportunistic insofar as serious infection often occurs during existing diseases or conditions – most notably cystic fibrosis and traumatic burns. It is also found generally in the immunocompromised but can infect the immunocompetent as in hot tub folliculitis. Treatment of P. aeruginosa infections can be difficult due to its natural resistance to antibiotics. When more advanced antibiotic drug regimens are needed adverse effects may result. It is citrate, catalase, and oxidase positive. It is found in soil, water, skin flora, and most man-made environments throughout the world. It thrives not only in normal atmospheres, but also in low-oxygen atmospheres, thus has colonized many natural and artificial environments. It uses a wide range of organic material for food; in animals, its versatility enables the organism to infect damaged tissues or those with reduced immunity. The symptoms of such infections are generalized inflammation and sepsis. If such colonizations occur in critical body organs, such as the lungs, the urinary tract, and kidneys, the results can be fatal. Because it thrives on moist surfaces, this bacterium is also found on and in medical equipment, including catheters, causing cross-infections in hospitals and clinics. It is also able to decompose hydrocarbons and has been used to break down tarballs and oil from oil spills. P. aeruginosa is not extremely virulent in comparison with other major pathogenic bacterial species – for example Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes – though P. aeruginosa is capable of extensive colonization, and can aggregate into enduring biofilms.