The in vitro activity of cefdinir (CI-983, FK-482), an orally absorbed aminothiazolyl cephalosporin, was evaluated against all 287 strains of Haemophilus influenzae, Haemophilus parainfluenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Streptococcus pneumoniae and Streptococcus pyogenes in comparison with cefaclor, cefuroxime, amoxicillin, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid, erythromycin and cotrimoxazole. The bactericidal activity of cefdinir, cotrimoxazole, amoxicillin-clavulanic acid and erythromycin was determined against H. influenzae, M. catarrhalis and S. pneumoniae. With the exception of one beta-lactamase negative ampicillin-resistant strain of H. influenzae (resistant to all antibiotics tested), no resistance to cefdinir was observed (MIC < or = 1 mg/l). Cefdinir was active against H. influenzae, H. parainfluenzae and M. catarrhalis regardless of whether or not they produced beta-lactamase. In general, the inhibitory concentrations of cefdinir against H. influenzae, H. parainfluenzae and M. catarrhalis were similar to those of amoxicillin/clavulanic acid, one or two dilutions lower than those of cefuroxime and four dilutions lower than those of cefaclor and cotrimoxazole. Against S. pneumoniae and S. pyogenes cefdinir had the same activity as cefuroxime and amoxicillin but was more effective than the other antibiotics tested. Kinetic studies showed that cefdinir was rapidly bactericidal at concentrations 2 and 4 times the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC): a reduction of 99.9% in CFU values was generally observed after 6-8 h.