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Int J Circumpolar Health. 2013 Dec 17;72:22297. doi: 10.3402/ijch.v72i0.22297. eCollection 2013.

Streptococcus pneumoniae non-susceptibility and outpatient antimicrobial prescribing rates at the Alaska Native Medical Center.

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Alaska Native Medical Center, Anchorage, AK, USA.
Arctic Investigations Program, Division of Preparedness and Emerging Infections, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Disease, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Anchorage, AK, USA.



American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people suffer substantially higher rates of invasive pneumococcal disease (IPD) than the general US population. We evaluated antimicrobial prescribing data and their association with non-susceptibility in Streptococcus pneumoniae causing IPD in AI/AN people between 1992 and 2009.


Antimicrobial use data were gathered from the electronic patient management system and included all prescriptions dispensed to Alaska Native patients aged 5 years and older from outpatient pharmacies at the Alaska Native Medical Center (ANMC). Antimicrobial susceptibility data were gathered from pneumococcal isolates causing IPD among Anchorage Service Unit AI/AN residents aged 5 years and older. Data were restricted to serotypes not contained in the pneumococcal vaccine (PCV7).


Over the study period, overall antimicrobial prescribing increased 59% (285/1,000 persons/year in 1992 to 454/1,000 persons per year in 2009, p<0.001). Trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole prescribing increased (43/1,000 persons/year in 1992 to 108/1,000 persons/year in 2009, p<0.001) and non-susceptibility to trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole in AI/AN patients ≥5 years of age increased in non-PCV7 serotypes (0-12%, p<0.05). Similarly, prescribing rates increased for macrolide antibiotics (46/1,000 persons/year in 1992 to 84/1,000 persons/year in 2009, p<0.05). We observed no statistically significant change over time in erythromycin non-susceptibility among non-PCV7 serotypes in AI/AN patients aged 5 years or greater (0-7%, p=0.087).


Antimicrobial prescribing patterns of some antibiotics in the AI/AN population corresponded to increased antimicrobial resistance in clinical isolates. This study highlights the on-going threat of antimicrobial resistance, the critical importance of judicious prescribing of antibiotics and the potential utility of prescribing data for addressing this issue.


Alaska; Alaska Natives; Streptococcus pneumoniae; antibiotic prescribing; antibiotic resistance; invasive pneumococcal disease; susceptibility

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