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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1990 Nov;34(11):2075-80.

Antimicrobial resistance among respiratory isolates of Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, and Streptococcus pneumoniae in the United States.

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Department of Pathology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio 78284.


A national surveillance study was conducted to determine trends in antimicrobial resistance patterns among three common causes of community-acquired respiratory tract infections. Fifteen participating U.S. medical centers submitted clinically significant isolates of Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella (Branhamella) catarrhalis, and Streptococcus pneumoniae to two central laboratories for testing with a group of 12 antimicrobial agents. The majority of isolates were recovered from adult males greater than 50 years old. Overall, 84.1% of 378 M. catarrhalis and 16.5% of 564 H. influenzae (29.5% of type b strains; 15.0% of non-type b strains) produced beta-lactamase and were thus resistant to penicillin, ampicillin, and amoxicillin. Resistance in H. influenzae to other agents was 2.1% to tetracycline, 0.7% to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, 1.1% to cefaclor, and 0.2% to cefuroxime and amoxicillin-clavulanate, while the M. catarrhalis isolates yielded very low MICs of these latter drugs. As demonstrated in prior studies, erythromycin showed little activity against H. influenzae. Of 487 S. pneumoniae isolates, 1 (0.2%) was penicillin resistant, while 3.8% were relatively resistant to penicillin, 4.5% were resistant to trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, 2.3% were resistant to tetracycline, 1.2% were resistant to chloramphenicol, and 0.2% were resistant to erythromycin. Overall, the lowest resistance rates for these common bacterial respiratory pathogens were noted with amoxicillin-clavulanate, cefuroxime, and cefaclor.

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