BACTERIOLOGYBeta-lactamase-producing bacteria and their role in infectionBrook, ItzhakAuthor Information From the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University School of Medicine, Washington, DC, USA. Correspondence to I. Brook, 4431 Albemarle St. NW, Washington, DC 20016, USA. Tel: +1 301 295 2698; fax: +1 202 244 6809; e-mail: [email protected] Reviews in Medical Microbiology: August 2005 - Volume 16 - Issue 3 - p 91-99 doi: 10.1097/01.revmedmi.0000174967.28926.24 Buy Metrics Abstract Beta-lactamase-producing bacteria (BLPB) can play an important role in polymicrobial infections. They can have a direct pathogenic impact in causing the infection as well as an indirect effect through their ability to produce the enzyme β-lactamase. BLPB may not only survive penicillin therapy but can also, as was demonstrated in in vitro and in vivo studies, protect other penicillin-susceptible bacteria from penicillin by releasing the free enzyme into their environment. This review summarizes the data we have collected over the past 30 years on the rate of isolation of BLPB in a variety of mixed infections. These include upper respiratory tract, skin, soft tissue, and surgical infections, and other infections. The clinical in vitro and in vivo evidence supporting the role of these organisms in the increased failure rate of penicillin in eradication of these infections and the implication of that increased rate on the management of infections is discussed. © 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.