Send to

Choose Destination
Emerg Infect Dis. 1998 Apr-Jun;4(2):277-81.

Emergence of the M phenotype of erythromycin-resistant pneumococci in South Africa.

Author information

South African Institute for Medical Research, Johannesburg, South Africa.


Erythromycin-resistant pneumococci have been isolated in South Africa since 1978; however, from 1987 to 1996, resistance to macrolides was only detected in 270 (2.7%) of 9,868 blood or cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pneumococcal isolates, most of which were obtained from the public sector. In South Africa, macrolide use in the public sector is estimated at 56% of that in the private sector. Most erythromycin-resistant strains (89%) exhibited resistance to erythromycin and clindamycin (macrolide-lincosamide-streptogramin B phenotype). In the United States, most erythromycin-resistant pneumococci exhibit the newly described M phenotype (resistance to erythromycin alone), associated with the mefE gene. The M phenotype in South Africa increased significantly in the last 10 years, from 1 of 5,115 to 28 of 4,735 of blood and CSF isolates received from 1987 to 1991 compared with 1992 to 1996 (p = 5 x 10(-7)). These data suggest that, although macrolide resistance in pneumococci remains low in the public sector, the mefE gene is rapidly emerging in South Africa.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center