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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2004 Sep;48(9):3491-7.

Levofloxacin-resistant invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae in the United States: evidence for clonal spread and the impact of conjugate pneumococcal vaccine.

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  • 1Department of International Health, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, 1518 Clifton Rd., Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.


The emergence of fluoroquinolone resistance in sterile-site isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae is documented in this study characterizing all invasive levofloxacin-resistant (MIC, > or = 8 mg/liter) S. pneumoniae isolates (n = 50) obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Active Bacterial Core Surveillance from 1998 to 2002. Resistance among all isolates increased from 0.1% in 1998 to 0.6% in 2001 (P = 0.008) but decreased to 0.4% in 2002, while resistance among vaccine serotypes continued to increase from 0.3% in 1998 to 1.0% in 2002, suggesting that fluoroquinolones continue to exert selective pressure on these vaccine serotypes. Only 22% of resistant isolates were not covered by the conjugate vaccine serogroups. Multilocus sequence typing revealed that 58% of resistant strains were related to five international clones identified by the Pneumococcal Molecular Epidemiology Network, with the Spain(23F)-1 clone being most frequent (16% of all isolates). Thirty-six percent of the isolates were coresistant to penicillin, 44% were coresistant to macrolides, and 28% were multiresistant to penicillin, macrolides, and fluoroquinolones. Fifty percent of the isolates were resistant to any three drug classes. Ninety-four percent of the isolates had multiple mutations in the quinolone resistance-determining regions of the gyrA, gyrB, parC, and parE genes. In 16% of the isolates, there was evidence of an active efflux mechanism. An unusual isolate was found that showed only a single parE mutation and for which the ciprofloxacin MIC was lower (2 mg/liter) than that of levofloxacin (8 mg/liter). Our results suggest that invasive pneumococcal isolates resistant to levofloxacin in the United States show considerable evidence of multiple resistance and of clonal spread.

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