Testing of the susceptibility to 12 antimicrobial agents, including beta-lactams, aminoglycosides, ciprofloxacin, and erythromycin, was performed by broth microdilution on 78 consecutive clinical isolates of Nocardia asteroides. Surprisingly, a limited number of patterns of susceptibility were identified that included all drug classes, with 95% of isolates exhibiting one of five patterns. One group (17%) exhibited resistance to the broad-spectrum cephalosporins, one group (18%) was susceptible to both ampicillin and erythromycin, one group (17%) was susceptible to ampicillin and carbenicillin but intermediate in susceptibility to imipenem, and the most common group (35%) was resistant to ampicillin but susceptible to the broad-spectrum cephalosporins and imipenem. The most active parenteral agents were amikacin (95%), imipenem (88%), ceftriaxone (82%), and cefotaxime (82%), while the most active oral agents were the sulfonamides (100%), minocycline (100%), and ampicillin (40%). Additional studies are needed to determine whether differences in beta-lactamases relate to varying beta-lactam resistance and whether taxonomic differences that correlate with the different susceptibility groups can be identified
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