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High prevalence of erythromycin resistance and macrolide-resistance genes, mefA and ermB, in Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from the upper respiratory tracts of children in the Sapporo district, Japan

Abstract

Our previous study demonstrated that the frequency of penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae (PRSP) was lower in our district than in districts in other Japanese studies. In this study, we investigated the prevalence of erythromycin resistance. The susceptibility to erythromycin and the distribution of the macrolide-resistance genes, mefA and ermB, were examined in S. pneumoniae isolates from the upper respiratory tracts of children in four cities in the Sapporo district, Hokkaido prefecture, Japan. Of the 156 isolates, 27 (17.3%) were erythromycin-sensitive, 6 (3.9%) were erythromycin-intermediately resistant, and 123 (78.9%) were erythromycin-resistant. Fifty-nine (37.8%) had the mefA gene, 89 (57.1%) had the ermB gene, and 129 (82.7%) had the mefA and/or the ermB gene. The ermB-positive isolates tended to show high resistance to erythromycin. Erythromycin-resistant isolates and the macrolide-resistance genes were often present in infants or younger children. The frequency of erythromycin-resistant isolates in the four cities was very high, ranging from 76.3% to 83. 3%, as high as the national average. Although erythromycin-resistant isolates generally tend to show cross-resistance to penicillin, the frequency of PRSP was very low in this study, as compared with other Japanese studies. Erythromycin resistance was frequently recognized not only in PRSP but also in penicillin-sensitive S. pneumoniae (PSSP) as well. In Japan, erythromycin resistance may have already become widespread, even in local areas where penicillin resistance is not especially prevalent.

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Correspondence to Atsushi Harimaya.

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A. Harimaya and S. Yokota contributed equally to this work.

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Harimaya, A., Yokota, Si., Sato, K. et al. High prevalence of erythromycin resistance and macrolide-resistance genes, mefA and ermB, in Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates from the upper respiratory tracts of children in the Sapporo district, Japan. J Infect Chemother 13, 219–223 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10156-007-0528-5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10156-007-0528-5

Key words

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Drug resistance
  • Child
  • mefA
  • ermB
  • Erythromycin