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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. Dec 1988; 32(12): 1801–1806.
PMCID: PMC176022

High frequency of antimicrobial resistance in human fecal flora.


The frequency of resistance to seven different antimicrobial agents was examined in the aerobic gram-negative gut flora of over 600 individuals from hospitals, from laboratories where antibiotics were used, and from urban and rural communities. In a majority (62.5%) of fecal samples from people without a recent history of taking antibiotics, 10% or more of the total organisms were resistant to at least one of the antibiotics. In about 40% of the samples, resistance to more than one drug was present at this level. More than one-third of the samples contained resistant organisms comprising 50% or more of the total flora examined. Organisms with coresistance to multiple drugs were found frequently. Individuals taking antibiotics produced more samples with a higher proportion (greater than 50%) of resistant bacteria, and these samples also had a significantly greater number of different resistance determinants. This extensive study revealed a high prevalence of resistant bacteria in the gut flora of ambulatory and hospitalized individuals whether or not they were taking antibiotics.

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Selected References

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