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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2001 Dec;18(6):559-62.

In vitro resistance of Bacillus anthracis Sterne to doxycycline, macrolides and quinolones.

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Radiation Medicine Department, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD 20889-5603, USA.


Bacillus anthracis is a potential biological warfare agent. Its ability to develop resistance to antimicrobial agents currently recommended for the treatment of anthrax infection is a major concern. B. anthracis Sterne was grown from a live veterinary vaccine and used it to test for the development of resistance after 21 sequential subcultures in sub-inhibitory concentrations of doxycycline and three quinolones (ciprofloxacin, alatrofloxacin and gatifloxacin) and 15 sequential subcultures in sub-inhibitory concentrations of three macrolides (erythromycin, azithromycin and clarithromycin). After 21 subcultures the minimal inhibitory concentrations (MICs) increased from 0.1 to 1.6 mg/l for ciprofloxacin, from 1.6 to 12.5 mg/l for alatrofloxacin, from 0.025 to 1.6 mg/l for gatifloxacin and from 0.025 to 0.1 mg/l for doxycycline. After 15 passages of sequential subculturing with macrolides, the MICs increased from 12.5 to 12.5 or 50.0 mg/l for azithromycin, from 0.2 to 1.6 or 0.4 mg/l for clarithromycin and from 6.25 to 6.25 or 50 mg/l for erythromycin. After sequential passages with a single quinolone or doxycycline, each isolate was cross-tested for resistance using the other drugs. All isolates selected for resistance to one quinolone were also resistant to the other two quinolones, but not to doxycycline. The doxycycline-resistant isolate was not resistant to any quinolone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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