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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2013 Nov;57(11):5415-22. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00319-13. Epub 2013 Aug 19.

Molecular resistance mechanisms of macrolide-resistant invasive Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from Alaska, 1986 to 2010.

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  • 1Arctic Investigations Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Anchorage, Alaska, USA.


The rapid emergence of antibiotic-resistant pneumococcal strains has reduced treatment options. The aim of this study was to determine antimicrobial susceptibilities, serotype distributions, and molecular resistance mechanisms among macrolide-resistant invasive pneumococcal isolates in Alaska from 1986 to 2010. We identified cases of invasive pneumococcal disease in Alaska from 1986 to 2010 through statewide population-based laboratory surveillance. All invasive pneumococcal isolates submitted to the Arctic Investigations Program laboratory were confirmed by standard microbiological methods and serotyped by slide agglutination and the Quellung reaction. MICs were determined by the broth microdilution method, and macrolide-resistant genotypes were determined by multiplex PCR. Among 2,923 invasive pneumococcal isolates recovered from 1986 to 2010, 270 (9.2%) were nonsusceptible to erythromycin; 177 (66%) erythromycin-nonsusceptible isolates demonstrated coresistance to penicillin, and 167 (62%) were multidrug resistant. The most frequent serotypes among the macrolide-resistant isolates were serotypes 6B (23.3%), 14 (20.7%), 19A (16.7%), 9V (8.9%), 19F (6.3%), 6A (5.6%), and 23F (4.8%). mef and erm(B) genes were detected in 207 (77%) and 32 (12%) of the isolates, respectively. Nineteen (7%) of the erythromycin-nonsusceptible isolates contained both mef and erm(B) genotypes; 15 were of serotype 19A. There was significant year-to-year variation in the proportion of isolates that were nonsusceptible to erythromycin (P < 0.001). Macrolide resistance among pneumococcal isolates from Alaska is mediated predominantly by mef genes, and this has not changed significantly over time. However, there was a statistically significant increase in the proportion of isolates that possess both erm(B) and mef, primarily due to serotype 19A isolates.

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