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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2009 Sep;64(3):501-6. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkp213. Epub 2009 Jul 7.

Molecular characterization of macrolide resistance determinants [erm(B) and mef(A)] in Streptococcus pneumoniae and viridans group streptococci (VGS) isolated from adult patients with cystic fibrosis (CF).

Author information

1
Department of Bacteriology, Northern Ireland Public Health Laboratory, Belfast City Hospital, Lisburn Road, Belfast BT9 7AD, Northern Ireland, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Although long-term use of azithromycin has shown a significant clinical improvement for patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), its long-term effect on the susceptibility of commensal flora within CF airways has not yet been examined. We therefore suggest that long-term use of azithromycin increases macrolide resistance in commensal streptococci.

METHODS:

Erythromycin susceptibility in naturally colonizing viridans group streptococci (VGS) was characterized, as well as macrolide resistance gene determinants through sequence analysis, in pneumococci (n = 15) and VGS [n = 84; i.e. Streptococcus salivarius (n = 30), Streptococcus mitis (n = 17), Streptococcus sanguinis (n = 11), Streptococcus oralis (n = 10), Streptococcus parasanguinis (n = 6), Streptococcus gordonii (n = 3), Streptococcus infantis (n = 3), Streptococcus cristatus (n = 2), Streptococcus anginosus (n = 1) and Streptococcus australis (n = 1)] isolated from sputum from 24 adult CF patients, who were on oral azithromycin therapy for at least the previous 7 months.

RESULTS:

Almost three-quarters of isolates (74; 74.7%) were resistant to erythromycin, whilst a further 15 (15.2%) had reduced susceptibility, leaving only 10 (10.1%) isolates susceptible to erythromycin. The majority (89.8%) were not susceptible to erythromycin, as demonstrated by possession of the erm(B) gene in 25/99 (25.3%), the mef(A) gene in 1/99 (1.0%), the mef(E) gene in 75/99 (75.8%) and both erm(B) and mef(E) genes simultaneously in 11/99 (11.1%). These results indicate that genotypic resistance for macrolides is common in VGS in adult CF patients, with efflux being over three times more frequent.

CONCLUSIONS:

Long-term treatment with azithromycin in CF patients may reduce antibiotic susceptibility in commensal VGS, where these organisms may potentially act as a reservoir of macrolide resistance determinants for newly acquired and antibiotic-susceptible pathogens.

PMID:
19584106
DOI:
10.1093/jac/dkp213
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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