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From November 1997 to April 1998, 1,601 clinical isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae were obtained from 34 U.S. medical centers. The overall rate of strains showing resistance to penicillin was 29. 5%, with 17.4% having intermediate resistance. Multidrug resistance, defined as lack of susceptibility to penicillin and at least two other non-ss-lactam classes of antimicrobial drugs, was observed in 16.0% of isolates. Resistance to all 10 ss-lactam drugs examined in this study was directly related to the level of penicillin resistance. Penicillin resistance rates were highest in isolates from middle ear fluid and sinus aspirates of children ambulatory-care settings. Twenty-four of the 34 medical centers in this study had participated in a similar study 3 years before. In 19 of these 24 centers, penicillin resistance rates increased 2.9% to 39.2%. Similar increases were observed with rates of resistance to other antimicrobial drugs.

Original publication




Journal article


Emerg Infect Dis

Publication Date





757 - 765


Child, Preschool, Drug Resistance, Multiple, Humans, Microbial Sensitivity Tests, Penicillin Resistance, Streptococcus pneumoniae, United States