An Overview of Macrolide Resistance in Streptococci: Prevalence, Mobile Elements and Dynamics

Microorganisms. 2022 Nov 23;10(12):2316. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms10122316.


Streptococcal infections are usually treated with beta-lactam antibiotics, but, in case of allergic patients or reduced antibiotic susceptibility, macrolides and fluoroquinolones are the main alternatives. This work focuses on studying macrolide resistance rates, genetic associated determinants and antibiotic consumption data in Spain, Europe and also on a global scale. Macrolide resistance (MR) determinants, such as ribosomal methylases (erm(B), erm(TR), erm(T)) or active antibiotic efflux pumps and ribosomal protectors (mef(A/E)-mrs(D)), are differently distributed worldwide and associated with different clonal lineages and mobile genetic elements. MR rates vary together depending on clonal dynamics and on antibiotic consumption applying selective pressure. Among Streptococcus, higher MR rates are found in the viridans group, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus agalactiae, and lower MR rates are described in Streptococcus pyogenes. When considering different geographic areas, higher resistance rates are usually found in East-Asian countries and milder or lower in the US and Europe. Unfortunately, the availability of data varies also between countries; it is scarce in low- and middle- income countries from Africa and South America. Thus, surveillance studies of macrolide resistance rates and the resistance determinants involved should be promoted to complete global knowledge among macrolide resistance dynamics.

Keywords: GAS; ICE; IME; Streptococcus; Streptococcus pneumoniae; Streptococcus pyogenes; macrolide resistance; mobile genetic elements; pneumococcus.

Publication types

  • Review