Drug-resistant pneumococcal pneumonia: clinical relevance and approach to management

Fuller, J.; McGeer, A.; Low, D.
December 2005
European Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases;Dec2005, Vol. 24 Issue 12, p780
Academic Journal
Community-acquired pneumonia is the most common infectious disease that causes death, with Streptococcus pneumoniae remaining the leading causative pathogen. The worldwide incidence of infections caused by pneumococci resistant to penicillin, macrolides, and other antimicrobial agents has increased at an alarming rate during the past 2 decades. Yet, these agents are still used as first-line empirical therapy in the outpatient setting. There are several reasons for this, including the infrequency of making a pathogen-specific diagnosis, the failure of studies to demonstrate the relevance of resistance, and the infrequency with which clinicians recognize clinical failures. Despite this, there is mounting evidence that supports the practice of using high doses of some antimicrobial agents, a more active antimicrobial agent within a class, or switching to another class of antimicrobial agents when a patient is identified as being at an increased risk of infection with a resistant pneumococcus. There is now information that will allow the physician to identify not only the patient at risk for infection with a resistant pneumococcus but also the antimicrobial class and, in some cases, the agent within the class to which the organism is more likely to be resistant. This will allow clinicians to better define optimal therapy for patients with community-acquired pneumonia.


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