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Indian J Med Res. 2019 Mar;149(3):404-411. doi: 10.4103/ijmr.IJMR_1302_17.

Azithromycin resistance mechanisms in typhoidal salmonellae in India: A 25 years analysis.

Author information

Department of Microbiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Department of Biophysics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Centre for Community Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.
Department of Paediatrics, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India.


Background & objectives:

: Azithromycin has been in use as an alternate treatment option for enteric fever even when the guidelines on the susceptibility testing were not available. There is lack of data on susceptibility and mechanisms of resistance of azithromycin in Salmonella Typhi and S. Paratyphi A. The aim of the present study was to determine the azithromycin susceptibility and resistance mechanisms in typhoidal salmonellae isolates archived in a tertiary care centre in north India for a period of 25 years.


: Azithromycin susceptibility was determined in 602 isolates of S. Typhi (469) and S. Paratyphi A (133) available as archived collection isolated during 1993 to 2016, by disc diffusion and E-test method.PCR was done for ereA, ermA, ermB, ermC, mefA, mphA and msrA genes from plasmid and genomic DNA and sequencing was done to detect mutations in acrR, rplD and rplV genes.


: Azithromycin susceptibility was seen in 437/469 [93.2%; 95% confidence interval (CI), 90.5 to 95.1%] isolates of S. Typhi. Amongst 133 isolates of S. Paratyphi A studied, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of ≤16 mg/l was found in 102 (76.7%; 95% CI, 68.8 to 83.0). MIC value ranged between 1.5 and 32 mg/l with an increasing trend in MIC50and MIC90with time. Mutations were found in acrR in one and rplV in two isolates of S. Typhi. No acquired mechanism for macrolide resistance was found.

Interpretation & conclusions:

: Azithromycin could be considered as a promising agent against typhoid fever on the basis of MIC distribution in India. However, due to emergence of resistance in some parts, there is a need for continuous surveillance of antimicrobial susceptibility and resistance mechanisms. There is also a need to determine the breakpoints for S. Paratyphi A.


Antimicrobial resistance - azithromycin - enteric fever - resistance mechanism - Salmonella - typhoid

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