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Enterococci highly resistant to penicillin and ampicillin: an emerging clinical problem?

  • F L Sapico
  • H N Canawati
  • V J Ginunas
  • D S Gilmore
  • J Z Montgomerie
  • W J Tuddenham
  • R R Facklam
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1989
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Sixteen clinical isolates of ampicillin-resistant enterococci (ARE) were recovered from the microbiology laboratory of a 450-bed rehabilitation medical center from January 1981 to September 1987. These isolates were detected when a disk diffusion test using 10 micrograms of ampicillin on a blood agar plate revealed no zones of inhibition. Tube macrodilution tests yielded an MIC of greater than or equal to 16 micrograms of ampicillin per ml. None of the isolates were penicillinase producers by the chromogenic cephalosporin disk test. Ten isolates were Enterococcus faecium, four isolates were E. raffinosus, one isolate was E. gallinarum, and one isolate was not identified (lost). There were 6 male and 10 female patients. The sources of isolates were urine (n = 7), wound (n = 5), ascitic fluid (n = 2), blood (n = 2), peritoneal catheter tip (n = 1), Bartholin's cyst abscess (n = 1), rectal swab (n = 2), and pancreatic abscess (n = 1). The organism was isolated from multiple sites in 4 patients, was a pure culture isolate in 5 patients, and was part of a polymicrobial flora in 11 patients. Six patients were diabetic, and four had liver cirrhosis. All but four patients had received at least one antibiotic within 3 weeks of ARE isolation. The MICs (micrograms per milliliter) for 50 and 90% of isolates tested, respectively, were as follows: ampicillin, 64 and 64; penicillin, 128 and greater than 128; vancomycin, 1 and 2; gentamicin, 4 and 16; ciprofloxacin, 1.6 and 3.2; imipenem, 128 and greater than 128; and daptomycin (LY146032), 1.6 and 6.4. ARE may be an emerging pathogen in the hospitalized patient population.

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