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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2005 Dec;49(12):5069-74.

Erythromycin resistance and genetic elements carrying macrolide efflux genes in Streptococcus agalactiae.

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Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital Donostia, Paseo Dr. Beguiristain s/n, 20014 San Sebastián, Spain.


The macrolide resistance determinants and genetic elements carrying the mef(A) and mef(E) subclasses of the mef gene were studied with Streptococcus agalactiae isolated in 2003 and 2004 from 7,084 vaginorectal cultures performed to detect carrier pregnant women. The prevalence of carriage was 18% (1,276 isolates), and that of erythromycin resistance 11.0% (129 of the 1,171 isolates studied). erm(B), erm(A) subclass erm(TR), and the mef gene, either subclass mef(A) or mef(E), were found in 72 (55.8%), 41 (31.8%), and 12 (9.3%) erythromycin-resistant isolates, while 4 isolates had more than 1 erythromycin resistance gene. Of the 13 M-phenotype mef-containing erythromycin-resistant S. agalactiae isolates, 11 had the mef(E) subclass gene alone, one had both the mef(E) and the erm(TR) subclass genes, and one had the mef(A) subclass gene. mef(E) subclass genes were associated with the carrying element mega in 10 of the 12 mef(E)-containing strains, while the single mef(A) subclass gene found was associated with the genetic element Tn1207.3. The nonconjugative nature of the mega element and the clonal diversity of mef(E)-containing strains determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis suggest that transformation is the main mechanism through which this resistance gene is acquired.

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