Project leader: Project Leader Dr. R. Vanhoof
Streptococcus pneumoniae causes a wide variety of infections both in the community and in hospitalized patients. It is not only the causative agent for upper respiratory tract infections but also for a number of important invasive infections such as septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis. S. pneumoniae remains a major pathogen with a high degree of morbidity and a considerable rate of mortality. The appearance of resistant strains, in which both the de novo acquisition of new genetic material and the clonal spread of resistant isolates are implied, can be an incriminating factor in the treatment and outcome of pneumococcal disease. Furthermore, it can lead to a higher degree of morbidity and mortality, increases medico-economical costs and has a higher impact on the psycho-social welfare of the patient and its environment.
Research on antibiotic Resistance in Streptococcus pneumoniae
The worldwide reported increase of antibiotic resistance among S. pneumoniae together with the concomitant development of co-resistance between various unrelated classes of antimicrobials constitutes a problem of paramount importance. However, the clinical relevance of the impact of resistance on the clinical outcome remains a controversial topic. Furthermore, the epidemiology of antibiotic resistance can be influenced by various factors and important variations can even be found in restricted geographic areas due to differences in antibiotic policies, secular changes and clonal shifts in the bacterial population, demographic and geographic parameters. In Belgium, the first two penicillin-resistant isolates were reported by Vanhoof et al in 1980. Since the beginning of the nineties we have been reporting a slow but steadily increase in penicillin non-susceptibility in clinical isolates with a peak in 2001.
In the unit of Antibiotic Research of the Section Bacterial Diseases, we follow the evolution of antibiotic resistance in non-invasive clinical isolates of S. pneumoniae. Furthermore, we study the mechanisms of resistance especially to fluoroquinolones and macrolides.