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Antianaerobic antimicrobials: spectrum and susceptibility testing.

Susceptibility testing of anaerobic bacteria recovered from selected cases can influence the choice of antimicrobial therapy. The Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) has standardized many laboratory procedures, including anaerobic susceptibility testing (AST), and has published documents for AST. The standardization of testing methods by the CLSI allows comparisons of resistance trends among various laboratories. Susceptibility testing should be performed on organisms recovered from sterile body sites, those that are isolated in pure culture, or those that are clinically important and have variable or unique susceptibility patterns. Organisms that should be considered for individual isolate testing include highly virulent pathogens for which susceptibility cannot be predicted, such as Bacteroides, Prevotella, Fusobacterium, and Clostridium spp.; Bilophila wadsworthia; and Sutterella wadsworthensis. This review describes the current methods for AST in research and reference laboratories. These methods include the use of agar dilution, broth microdilution, Etest, and the spiral gradient endpoint system. The antimicrobials potentially effective against anaerobic bacteria include beta-lactams, combinations of beta-lactams and beta-lactamase inhibitors, metronidazole, chloramphenicol, clindamycin, macrolides, tetracyclines, and fluoroquinolones. The spectrum of efficacy, antimicrobial resistance mechanisms, and resistance patterns against these agents are described.

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