To detennine the epidemiology of bacteremias due to pneumococci not susceptible to penicillin (PNSP) at a university hospital, active microbiologic surveillance of bacteremias due to PNSP was done for 28 months. Controls were bacteremias caused by penicillin-susceptible pneumococci. Antimicrobial susceptibilities for alternative antibiotics were determined. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and serotyping were used as markers of strain identity. Of 113 pneumococcal isolates, 14 (13%) were intennediate or resistant to penicillin (MIC ≤ 0.1 g/mL). Twelve PNSP were resistant to other drugs: chloramphenicol (5), tetracycline (6), trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (5), cefotaxime (1), and erythromycin (1). Independently significant risk factors associated with PNSP bacteremia were sepsis and prior treatment with β-lactam antibiotics. PFGE revealed 10 distinguishable patterns among 12 isolates available for typing. In general, PFGE typing correlated with serotyping. It also distinguished some isolates of the same serotype. PFGE typing and serotyping suggest that the frequency of PNSP in the San Antonio, Texas, area is not due to dissemination of a single clonal strain.
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