Author(s): Tunr K, Nord CE
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Abstract The emergence of beta-lactamase producing bacteria in the microflora in the oropharyngeal cavity was studied in ten healthy volunteers treated with 1 g phenoxymethylpenicillin b.i.d. for ten days. Beta-lactamase activity in saliva was also investigated. A significant increase in the number of beta-lactamase producing strains of Bacteroides species and Fusobacterium nucleatum was observed. One beta-lactamase producing Staphylococcus aureus strain was recovered in one of the volunteers before the penicillin administration started and three Staphylococcus aureus strains produced beta-lactamase after ten days of antibiotic treatment. Beta-lactamase-production in Haemophilus influenzae, Haemophilus parainfluenzae or Branhamella catarrhalis was not observed before, during or after the antibiotic treatment. Beta-lactamase activity was noted in the broth cultures from one volunteer colonized with a beta-lactamase producing Escherichia coli strain. Beta-lactamase activity in saliva was observed in all volunteers, the activity increasing significantly in parallel to the increase of beta-lactamase producing bacterial strains. Beta-lactamase activity in saliva was completely inhibited in vitro by clavulanic acid and p-chloromercurbenzoate and about 70-80 per cent of the activity was inhibited by cefoxitin. The increase of beta-lactamase producing bacteria in the oropharynx as a consequence of penicillin treatment raises doubt as to whether penicillin is the drug of choice in the treatment of tonsillitis caused by group A streptococci when previous treatment has failed.
This article was published in Eur J Clin Microbiol
and referenced in Pediatrics & Therapeutics