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Anaerobe. 2003 Jun;9(3):105-11.

Antibiotic resistance among anaerobic Gram-negative bacilli: lessons from a French multicentric survey.

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Laboratoire de Bactériologie, Faculte des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, 3, rue du Professeur, Laguesse BP83, Lille 59006, Cedex, France.


Temporal changes of antibiotic susceptibilities among anaerobes in France are followed in our laboratory since 1992. For Bacteroides strains, resistance increased from 1992 to 1998 for amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, cefotetan and clindamycin. The present study evaluates the situation in 2000 for 434 Gram-negative anaerobic clinical isolates (obtained from 9 large university hospitals) by testing amoxicillin and ticarcillin alone or combined with clavulanic acid, cefoxitin, cefotetan, imipenem, clindamycin and metronidazole (using the NCCLS-approved method for MIC determination. The main genera tested included Bacteroides (359 strains of the fragilis group), Prevotella (40 strains), Fusobacterium (23 strains) and miscellaneous species (8 strains). Resistance rates within the B. fragilis group were: amoxicillin-clavulanic acid 5.6%, ticarcillin 33%, ticarcillin-clavulanic acid 2%, cefoxitin 13%, cefotetan 44%, clindamycin 33%, imipenem 1% and metronidazole <1%, respectively. Only one strain of B. fragilis was resistant to metronidazole (MIC=64 mg/L); due to the presence of the nimA gene on the chromosome. Resistance to imipenem or metronidazole was only found among the B. fragilis species. These two former drugs excepted, B. fragilis was less resistant to antibiotics than the other species. beta-lactamase production was detected for 357/359 strains of the fragilis group, 26/40 stains of Prevotella and 3/23 strains of Fusobacterium. Dynamic changes of antibacterial resistance are occurring within the B. fragilis group: decreased resistance to amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, ticarcillin-clavulanic acid, imipenem while resistance for cefoxitin, cefotetan, clindamycin continues to increase. Regular antibiotic surveys are needed as a source of information to guide the empirical therapy of anaerobic infections.

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