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Microb Drug Resist. 1998 Winter;4(4):301-6.

Susceptibility and genetic relatedness of invasive Haemophilus influenzae type b in Italy.

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Istituto Superiore di Sanità, and Divisione di Clinica Medica III, Università La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.


Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) still causes a large portion of meningitis in children less than 5 year old in Italy because vaccination against this agent has not been fully implemented in the country. We have studied 78 Hib strains and 4 nontypable H. influenzae (NTHi) isolated from the cerebrospinal fluid of subjects with meningitis for susceptibility to ampicillin, chloramphenicol, and ceftriaxone. The macrorestriction profiles of chromosomal DNA obtained by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) following digestion with SmaI and ApaI were also determined. All strains except one were equally susceptible to the antibiotics tested. One Hib strain, the only beta-lactamase producer, showed an intermediate susceptibility to ampicillin (MIC = 2 microg/ml), while maintaining full susceptibility to chloramphenicol and ceftriaxone. The analysis of the PFGE patterns showed that most of the Hib isolates, including the beta-lactamase-positive Hib strain, belonged to the same clone or to closely related subclones. For three PCR-confirmed NTHi isolates, we obtained completely different PFGE profiles. In conclusion, resistance to ampicillin still appears to be a rare finding in Hib strains causing meningitis in Italy; moreover, PFGE showed that the population structure of invasive Hib is essentially clonal.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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