High prevalence of antimicrobial resistance in rapidly growing mycobacteria in Taiwan

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2003 Jun;47(6):1958-62. doi: 10.1128/AAC.47.6.1958-1962.2003.


An increasing number of clinical isolations of rapidly growing mycobacteria (RGM) at the National Taiwan University Hospital were noted from 1992 to 2001. Broth microdilution MICs of 15 antimicrobial agents were determined for 200 clinical isolates of RGM, including the Mycobacterium fortuitum group (69 isolates), M. chelonae (39 isolates), and M. abscessus (92 isolates). Our results showed that the resistance rates of these isolates to the currently available agents were remarkably high. Amikacin was active against nearly all RGM isolates. Clarithromycin was usually active against M. abscessus (79% susceptibility) and the M. fortuitum group (65% susceptibility). The majority of M. fortuitum group isolates were susceptible to ciprofloxacin (62%) and imipenem (61%). The susceptibilities to other conventional anti-RGM agents of these isolates were poor but differed markedly by species. The newer fluoroquinolones (levofloxacin, moxifloxacin, and gatifloxacin) and meropenem showed better in vitro activities against the M. fortuitum group isolates than against the other two species of RGM. Linezolid had fairly good activity against these RGM isolates, particularly against M. chelonae isolates (82% susceptible). Telithromycin had poor activity against these RGM isolates (the MICs at which 50% of the isolates tested are inhibited [MIC(50)s] were 32 to 64 microg/ml, and the MIC(90)s were >64 microg/ml).

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • DNA, Bacterial / genetics
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mycobacterium Infections / microbiology
  • Mycobacterium chelonae / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium chelonae / genetics
  • Mycobacterium chelonae / isolation & purification
  • Mycobacterium fortuitum / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium fortuitum / genetics
  • Mycobacterium fortuitum / isolation & purification
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics
  • Taiwan


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S