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Comparative Efficacy of Cephalexin and Ampicillin for Shigellosis and Other Types of Acute Diarrhea in Infants and Children

By John D. Nelson and Kenneth C. Haltalin


Most ampicillin-resistant Shigella are susceptible to cephalexin. Randomized treatment with cephalexin or ampicillin was given to 154 infants and children with acute diarrhea. Rectal swab cultures revealed Shigella in 42%, Salmonella in 6%, enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in 2%, and no pathogen in 50%. Cephalexin failed to eradicate Shigella after 5 days of treatment in 76% of patients as contrasted with 28% of ampicillin-treated patients with susceptible organisms. Shigella persisted in 78% of ampicillin-treated patients with resistant organisms. Diarrhea lasted more than 5 days in 43% of cephalexin-treated patients, in 56% of the ampicillin group with resistant organisms, but in only 9% of ampicillin-treated patients with susceptible organisms. The failure of cephalexin was due to the relatively high minimal inhibitory concentrations and minimal bacterial concentrations of 5 or 10 μg/ml and, although serum concentrations were twice the minimal bacterial concentration, they were not sufficient to demonstrate killing by the serum dilution method. In vitro susceptibility or resistance of Shigella to ampicillin correlated with clinical success or failure. Cephalexin is not a suitable drug for treatment of shigellosis in patients with ampicillin-resistant organisms

Topics: Articles
Year: 1975
DOI identifier: 10.1128/aac.7.4.415
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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