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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2003 Sep;47(9):2765-9.

Impact of azithromycin administration for trachoma control on the carriage of antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae.

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  • 1Department of Medical Microbiology, University College London, Royal Free Campus, London NW3 2PF.


Community distribution of azithromycin has an important role to play in trachoma control. Previous studies have suggested that this may increase the prevalence of macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae. S. pneumoniae was isolated from children under 7 years of age in Rombo District, northern Tanzania, before and 2 and 6 months after community-wide administration of azithromycin. Overall carriage rates were 11, 12, and 7%, respectively. Only one macrolide-resistant isolate carrying the mef gene was obtained 6 months after azithromycin administration. This contrasted with cotrimoxazole and penicillin resistance, both of which were common (cotrimoxazole resistance, 42, 43, and 47%, and penicillin resistance, 21, 17, and 16% at baseline, 2 months, and 6 months, respectively). There was a significant association between cotrimoxazole and penicillin resistance (P < 0.0001, Fisher's exact). These data suggest that in communities where macrolide resistance is rare, azithromycin distribution for trachoma control is unlikely to increase the prevalence of resistant organisms.

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