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Clin Infect Dis. 2013 Jun;56(11):1519-26. doi: 10.1093/cid/cit137. Epub 2013 Mar 13.

Mass distribution of azithromycin for trachoma control is associated with increased risk of azithromycin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae carriage in young children 6 months after treatment.

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1
Department of International Health, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, 615 N Wolfe St, Rm W5009, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA. ccoles@jhsph.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Emerging evidence suggests that the mass distribution of azithromycin for trachoma control (MDA) may increase circulation of macrolide resistance in bacteria associated with severe pediatric infections in treated communities.

METHODS:

We examined the effect of MDA on nasopharyngeal carriage of antibiotic-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae among 1015 young children living in rural Tanzania. MDA with a single dose of oral azithromycin was provided in 4 of 8 communities where trachoma prevalence was ≥10%. Isolates were tested for susceptibility to azithromycin (AZM) and commonly used antibiotics by disk diffusion and Etest. We calculated the proportion of antibiotic-resistant S. pneumoniae carriage at baseline and again 1, 3, and 6 months after treatment, and at comparable intervals in the untreated villages.

RESULTS:

The proportion of AZM-resistant isolates was similar between groups at baseline (MDA: 35.8% vs non-MDA: 35.4%), however, this proportion was greater in the MDA group in all subsequent surveys. At 6 months, the percentage of AZM-resistant isolates was significantly higher in the MDA group (81.9% vs 46.9%, P < .001). The odds of AZM-resistant carriage was 5-fold greater in the MDA group (odds ratio, 4.95 [95% confidence interval, 3.23-7.61]). The proportion of isolates clinically resistant to AZM (minimum inhibitory concentration ≥16 µg/mL) was also significantly greater in the MDA group at 6 months (35.3% vs 12.4%, P < .006).

CONCLUSIONS:

Mass distribution of a single dose of oral azithromycin for trachoma was associated with increased circulation of macrolide-resistant S. pneumoniae carriage among young children in the 6 months following treatment. It is crucial that changes in antibiotic resistance patterns and their clinical significance in the treatment of severe pediatric infections be assessed in future MDA trials.

KEYWORDS:

S. pneumoniae; antimicrobial resistance; azithromycin; children; trachoma

PMID:
23487375
DOI:
10.1093/cid/cit137
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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