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August 1992

The Escalating Problem of Antimicrobial Resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae

Author Affiliations

University of Tennessee 848 Adams Ave Memphis, TN 38103

Am J Dis Child. 1992;146(8):912-916. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1992.02160200034022

The use of DNA from killed organisms to transform colonies of Streptococcus pneumoniae from rough to smooth and from penicillin-susceptible to penicillin-resistant organisms by Oswald Avery, Colin MacLeod, Maclyn McCarty, and Rollin Hotchkiss in the 1940s established DNA as the molecule responsible for the transfer of genetic information.1 The same ease and indiscriminate acceptance of foreign DNA by pneumococcal species in vivo appears to be an important mechanism whereby an increasing number of strains of pneumococci isolated from infected and colonized individuals have become resistant to penicillin and other antimicrobials, including erythromycin, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX), and chloramphenicol. What is the extent and significance of this problem for pediatricians for whom S pneumoniae species are among the most common bacterial pathogens of the middle ear, paranasal sinuses, lower respiratory tract, and bloodstream in children younger than 24 months without an obvious focus of infection? As well, S

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