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Influence of Variations in Test Methods on Susceptibility of Haemophilus influenzae to Ampicillin, Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, and Telithromycin

American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
  • Bacteriology
  • Mathematics


The National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards standard broth microdilution method for testing the susceptibility of Haemophilus influenzae to ampicillin, azithromycin, clarithromycin, and telithromycin was evaluated by altering one variable at a time. Variables that were tested included age of colony for inoculum preparation, inoculum density, test medium, incubation atmosphere, and incubation time. For the macrolide, azalide, and ketolide agents, incubation in 5 to 7% CO2 most significantly affected the MICs, producing nearly twofold increases for clarithromycin and telithromycin and a greater than threefold increase for azithromycin. For ampicillin, a 10-fold increase in inoculum density increased the geometric mean MICs for β-lactamase-negative strains from 1.50 to 2.45 μg/ml. In addition, 206 H. influenzae strains were tested for their susceptibilities to the same drugs by the broth microdilution tests in two media, as well as by agar dilution tests, disk diffusion tests, and Etests, on six different agar media. The three standard methods with Haemophilus test medium (HTM) compared favorably with each other except for a high minor discrepancy rate (27%) by the disk diffusion test with ampicillin and clarithromycin. Agar dilution test MICs on the five comparative media were generally higher than those on HTM agar but were only rarely more than one twofold concentration higher. Etest MICs of azithromycin and telithromycin were more than twofold higher than agar dilution and broth microdilution MICs on HTM; ampicillin Etest MICs were nearly twofold lower. The use of media other than HTM agar appears to have a minimal effect on susceptibility test results for the ketolide, azalide, or macrolide drugs that we tested against H. influenzae.

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