A total of 31 strains of Mycobacterium avium complex isolated from patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome were tested for susceptibility to 30 antimicrobial agents by using microdilution trays containing dried antimicrobial agents. MICs were determined over a period of 7 days of growth in a broth medium (7HSF) that is equivalent to 7H11 agar. MICs obtained by this method showed good agreement with MICs determined by the agar dilution method. Strains could be divided into two groups by their antimicrobial susceptibility patterns. All group 1 strains (8 of the 31 strains tested) were at least moderately susceptible to inhibition by a variety of beta-lactam antimicrobial agents, including amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and cefmenoxime. Group 2 strains (23 of 31) were susceptible only to amikacin (22 of 23 strains). All 31 strains were resistant to oxacillin, clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline, chloramphenicol, vancomycin, nitrofurantoin, and aztreonam at the highest concentration of antimicrobial agent present in the microdilution trays. The addition of Tween 80 to 7HSF broth increased the susceptibility of M. avium complex to many of the antimicrobial agents tested. Killing of M. avium complex (i.e., less than or equal to 1% survival after 7 days) was found to vary for different strains and antimicrobial agents. Killing of some strains by amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, carbenicillin, azlocillin, cefmenoxime, cefotaxime, amikacin, and ampicillin occurred at concentrations of antimicrobial agent that are achievable in serum. Further studies are needed to determine whether any of these antimicrobial agents has activity against M. avium complex cells that have been ingested by macrophages
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