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Incorrect identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae and its effect on antimicrobial resistance rates.
Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2009;33(1):93-5.
Date: 2009-01-15   Read: 183976

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2009 Jan;33(1):93-5

Incorrect identification of Streptococcus pneumoniae and its effect on antimicrobial resistance rates.

Song JH, Baek JY, Cheong HS, Peck KR, Ko KS



Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important pathogen that causes several community-acquired infections. Antimicrobial resistance in S. pneumoniae has been increasing rapidly in many parts of the world. Given the clinical and epidemiological relevance of S. pneumoniae, accurate identification is essential for correct diagnosis and appropriate selection of antimicrobial agents. However, conventional identification methods in clinical microbiology laboratories can often lead to incorrect identification of Streptococcus spp. The recent identification of Streptococcus pseudopneumoniae, or atypical pneumococci, makes the diagnosis of S. pneumoniae more complicated, which is of concern since incorrect identification may be associated with inappropriate diagnosis and misevaluation of antimicrobial resistance. It has also been reported that misidentification may have caused an overestimation of penicillin resistance in S. pneumoniae. This study investigated the number of non-pneumococcal isolates misidentified as S. pneumoniae and the effect of misidentification on antimicrobial resistance rates. A total of 215 isolates were included in the study and were collected from a tertiary-care hospital during two separate years, 2004 (103 isolates) and 2007 (112 isolates). Of the 215 isolates included in this study, 32 isolates (14.9%) were determined to be non-pneumococci. It is also notable that resistance rates in authentic S. pneumoniae were reduced for some antimicrobial agents such as penicillin, ceftriaxone and ciprofloxacin when excluding misidentified non-pneumococcal isolates. This indicates that antimicrobial resistance in S. pneumoniae may be overestimated due to incorrect identification of S. pneumoniae. The results in this study emphasize the importance of correct identification of S. pneumoniae.

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