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Sporadic reports from centres in the south and east of the Mediterranean have suggested that the prevalence of antibiotic resistance in this region appears to be considerable, yet pan-regional studies using comparable methodology have been lacking in the past. Susceptibility test results from invasive isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecium and faecalis routinely recovered from clinical samples of blood and cerebrospinal fluid within participating laboratories situated in Algeria, Cyprus, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Malta, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey were collected as part of the ARMed project. Preliminary data from the first two years of the project showed the prevalence of penicillin non-susceptibility in S. pneumoniae to range from 0% (Malta) to 36% (Algeria) [median: 29%] whilst methicillin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus varied from 10% in Lebanon to 65% in Jordan [median: 43%]. Significant country specific resistance in E. coli was also seen, with 72% of isolates from Egyptian hospitals reported to be resistant to third generation cephalosporins and 40% non-susceptible to fluoroquinolones in Turkey. Vancomycin non-susceptibility was only reported in 0.9% of E. faecalis isolates from Turkey and in 3.8% of E. faecium isolates from Cyprus. The preliminary results from the ARMed project appear to support previous sporadic reports suggesting high antibiotic resistance in the Mediterranean region. They suggest that this is particularly the case in the eastern Mediterranean region where resistance in S. aureus and E. coli seems to be higher than that reported in the other countries of the Mediterranean.


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