Journal Article

Pneumococcal Drug Resistance: The New “Special Enemy of Old Age”

Jay C. Butler and Martin S. Cetron

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 28, issue 4, pages 730-735
Published in print April 1999 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online April 1999 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/515220
Pneumococcal Drug Resistance: The New “Special Enemy of Old Age”

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Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of illness and death among the elderly. The recent emergence of drug-resistant strains has complicated selection of antimicrobial therapy for suspected pneumococcal infections. In some areas of North America, nearly 40% of pneumococcal isolates from the blood or cerebrospinal fluid of personss ⩾65 years old had reduced susceptibility to penicillin. Of all penicillin-resistant infections, >30% occur in persons ⩾65 years old. The increasing prevalence of drug-resistant pneumococci and recent outbreaks of pneumococcal disease in chronic-care facilities emphasize the importance of efforts to prevent these infections in the elderly. Limiting selection for drug-resistant strains through judicious use of antimicrobial drugs and preventing invasive pneumococcal infections through increased use of pneumococcal vaccine form the foundation of these efforts.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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