Stenotrophomonas maltophilia is a significant pathogen that primarily affects patients with co-morbid illnesses, usually malignancies, who have been hospitalized for prolonged periods and received broad-spectrum antibiotic therapy. The organism has been associated with an expanding spectrum of clinical manifestations associated with high case to fatality ratios. Therapy of these infections presents a significant challenge both for the clinician and the microbiologists because of its high-level antibiotic resistance to most of the currently used agents and methodological difficulties in susceptibility testing with this organism. (C) 2004 The Hospital Infection Society. Published by Elsevier Ltd. ALL rights reserved.