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Anaerobic resistance

should we be worried?

Cooley, Louisea; Teng, Jasmineb

Current Opinion in Infectious Diseases: December 2019 - Volume 32 - Issue 6 - p 523–530
doi: 10.1097/QCO.0000000000000595

Purpose of review Anaerobic bacteria are implicated in a broad range of infections and can cause significant morbidity and mortality. As such, development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) increases the risk of worse clinical outcomes and death.

Recent findings Anaerobe AMR is highly variable according to region and species included in the survey. The overall trend is to increasing resistance, particularly in Europe and Asia, and in the Bacteroides fragilis group and Clostridium sp. Conversely, with the decline in RT027, resistance in Clostridiodes difficile is decreasing. Resistance to moxifloxacin and clindamycin has reached 30–50%, whereas prevalence of metronidazole and carbapenem resistance is generally low. Infections due to multidrug anaerobes have been increasingly reported, with clinical studies demonstrating adverse clinical outcomes, including higher mortality, with anaerobic resistance or inappropriate therapy. The role of antimicrobial stewardship in the setting of increasing anaerobe resistance is yet to be fully elucidated.

Summary These findings highlight the importance of continuous surveillance in monitoring emerging trends in anaerobe AMR. Mean inhibitory concentrations should be reported due to variable susceptibility breakpoints and for detection of isolates with reduced susceptibility. At a local level, the clinical microbiology laboratory has a key role in identifying and undertaking susceptibility testing to inform individual patient management, develop local antibiograms and liaise with antimicrobial stewardship teams. A greater understanding of the clinical impact of anaerobic resistance and the role of antimicrobial stewardship in preventing resistance is required.

aDepartment of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, Royal Hobart Hospital, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania

bDepartment of Infectious Diseases, Peter MacCallum Hospital, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Correspondence to Louise Cooley, MBBS, FRACP, FRCPA, Royal Hobart Hospital, Liverpool St, Hobart 7005, TAS, Australia. Tel: +61 4 0418562161/+61 3 6261668308; e-mail:

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