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Clin Microbiol Infect. 2005 Mar;11(3):204-13.

European surveillance study on the antibiotic susceptibility of Propionibacterium acnes.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine, Division of Clinical Bacteriology, Karolinska Institute, Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, SE-141 86 Stockholm, Sweden.


Propionibacterium acnes strains are recovered from infections linked to surgical procedures, foreign bodies and septicaemia. This study investigated the antibiotic susceptibility patterns of P. acnes isolates from different systemic infections and determined the genomic diversity among resistant P. acnes isolates with low-frequency restriction analysis of chromosomal DNA by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). In total, 304 P. acnes isolates from 13 laboratories in 13 European countries were tested against six antimicrobial agents by the NCCLS reference agar dilution method and the breakpoints recommended by the European Committee on Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing. Blood isolates were encountered most frequently, followed by those from skin and soft tissue infections, and abdominal infections. Of the isolates examined, 2.6% were resistant to tetracycline, 15.1% to clindamycin, and 17.1% to erythromycin. No resistance was observed to linezolid, benzylpenicillin or vancomycin. There was considerable variation between countries in the proportion of resistant strains, ranging from 83% in Croatia and 60% in Italy to 0% in The Netherlands. Isolates from blood were predominant among the resistant isolates. Seventeen clones and 78 banding patterns were identified among the resistant isolates. It was concluded that antimicrobial resistance has now emerged among P. acnes isolates from systemic infections.

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