Antibiotic resistance among anaerobes: What does it mean?

David W. Hecht, Gayatri Vedantam, James R. Osmolski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Antibiotic resistance among anaerobes is increasing, with significant resistance to clindamycin, cephalosporins, cephamycins, and penicillins noted at community hospitals and major medical centers. A total of 615 anaerobes isolated from various Chicago area hospitals in 1996 were tested against 13 antibiotics, and the resistance patterns compared with similar data from 1991. For the Bacteroides fragilis group anaerobes, the most effective antibiotics were the B-lactam/B-lactamase inhibitor combination agents, carbapenems, trovafloxacin and metronidazole. High levels of resistance to clindamycin, piperacillin, cefoxitin and ceftizoxime were seen 1996. For non-B. fragilis group anaerobes, resistance was mush lower, and was notable only in Clostridium spp. (clindamycin and cephamycins) and Prevotella spp. (clindamycin and piperacillin). Despite the prevalence of antibiotic resistance among anaerobes, the frequency of antimicrobial susceptibility testing of anaerobes is declining. There are a number of factors that account for this decline, including a general reduction in funding of hospital clinical laboratories, a concomitant loss of expertise at these institutions, a lack of automated testing for anaerobes, and a failure to consider resistance as important to clinicians. The case for increased susceptibility testing is built upon the changing patterns of resistance such as those reported in this paper, the identification and transfer of genetic determinants corresponding to antibiotic resistance, as well as the correlation of resistance and clinical outcome. (C) 1999 Academic Press.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)421-429
Number of pages9
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Antibiotic resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases


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