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Variation in erythromycin and clindamycin resistance patterns between New Zealand and Australian group B streptococcus isolates


Background:  Intrapartum chemoprophylaxis for group B streptococcus (GBS) carriers reduces the risk of early‐onset neonatal GBS infection. For women with β‐lactam allergy, either erythromycin or clindamycin are administered. Recent reports worldwide suggest that GBS resistance to these antibiotics is increasing. Aims:  To compare erythromycin and clindamycin resistance phenotypes in invasive neonatal GBS isolates across New Zealand and Australia over the past two decades and to determine whether regional variation in resistance patterns exist. Method:  Invasive neonatal GBS isolates were collected from laboratories across New Zealand (n = 107) and Australia (n = 74) over two time periods (1992–1994 and 2002–2004 in New Zealand; 1982–2001 and 2002–2006 in Australia) and subjected to standard antibiotic susceptibility testing. A nested sub‐study in New Zealand examined antibiotic susceptibilities of 112 maternal colonising GBS isolates during 2003–2004. Results:  Erythromycin resistance among invasive neonatal GBS isolates increased across both countries over the past decade, with similar rates of resistance in New Zealand (9%) and Australia (6%) in recent years. New Zealand erythromycin‐resistant GBS isolates commonly displayed cross‐resistance to clindamycin. Also, there were significantly higher rates of isolated clindamycin resistance in GBS isolates from New Zealand than Australia (P = 0.034). Maternal GBS isolates from New Zealand showed similar resistance patterns to neonatal isolates. Conclusion:  Erythromycin and clindamycin resistance among invasive neonatal GBS isolates has emerged in both New Zealand and Australia over the past decade and is consistent with global trends in GBS resistance patterns. Although regional variations exist, these findings should be considered when implementing intrapartum GBS prevention strategies.

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