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J Clin Microbiol. 2005 Mar;43(3):1294-300.

Molecular epidemiology of macrolide-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates in Europe.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology, National Reference Center for Streptococci, University Hospital, Pauwelsstrasse 30, Aachen, Germany.


In many European countries, the level of pneumococcal resistance to macrolides has now passed the level of resistance to penicillin G. A total of 82 erythromycin A-resistant isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae were collected by 11 laboratories in seven European countries. All of the isolates were tested for antimicrobial susceptibility, analyzed for clonal relatedness by multilocus sequence typing, and characterized for macrolide resistance genotypes. The prevalence of the macrolide resistance genotypes varied substantially between countries. In France (87.5% of all strains), Spain (77.3%), Switzerland (80%), and Poland (100%), strains were predominantly erm(B) positive, whereas higher levels of mef(A)-positive strains were reported from Greece (100%) and Germany (33.3%). Macrolide resistance was caused by the oligoclonal spread of some multilocus sequence types, but significant differences in clonal distribution were noted between France and Spain, countries from which high levels of macrolide resistance have been reported. Overall, sequence type 81 (Spain23F-1 clone) was by far the most widespread. The mainly erm(B)-positive serotype 14 clone (sequence type 143), first reported in Poland in the mid-1990s, is now widespread in France.

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