Changes in Streptococcus pneumoniae Susceptibility in Wisconsin: Implications for Clinical Treatment Decisions for Respiratory Infections

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Marshfield Clinic

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Clinical Medicine & Research

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Original Item ID

DOI: 10.3121/cmr.2022.1767


Objective: In 2019, the American Thoracic Society and Infectious Diseases Society of America updated clinical practice guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). In contrast to guidelines published in 2007, macrolide monotherapy for outpatients was made a conditional recommendation based on resistance levels. Local knowledge of current antimicrobial susceptibility is needed to guide management of CAP and other bacterial respiratory pathogens. The purpose of this study was to investigate antimicrobial susceptibility profiles and trending for Wisconsin Streptococcus pneumoniae isolates.

Design: Multi-center laboratory surveillance, with testing at a central location utilizing standardized susceptibility testing protocols.

Methods: Data published by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) were augmented with data from the Surveillance of Wisconsin Organisms for Trends in Antimicrobial Resistance and Epidemiology (SWOTARE) program. Data were stratified by invasive or non-invasive sources, as well as DHS region and compared to data compiled from 2006-2010.

Results: Susceptibility rates for ≥ 916 invasive S. pneumoniae assessed from 2016-2020 were greater than 91% for ceftriaxone, tetracycline, and fluoroquinolone agents and were generally higher than those from 354 non-invasive isolates. Low susceptibility rates were observed for invasive isolates of penicillin (78.7%) and erythromycin (64.8%) and were even lower for non-invasive isolates (73.8% and 59.9%, respectively). This erythromycin susceptibility rate was a significant reduction from that observed in 2006-2010 (80.4; P < 0.0002). 24.8% of isolates generated an erythromycin MIC ≥ 8 μg/mL. Statewide geographic variability was noted.

Conclusions: Rates of S. pneumoniae susceptibility to parenteral penicillins and cephems, and oral tetracycline and fluoroquinolone agents, remain high throughout Wisconsin. However, low oral penicillin susceptibility rates, taken together with declining macrolide susceptibility rates, should cause clinicians to consider alternative treatment options for respiratory tract infections, especially with macrolides.


Clinical Medicine & Research, Vol. 20, No. 4 (December 2022): 185-194. DOI.