Antimicrobial resistance surveillance can provide information needed for empirical therapy of antimicrobial agents and for control of resistance. To determine the trend of antimicrobial resistance in Korea, in vitro susceptibility data in 1998 were collected from 25 hospitals participating to a program of Korean Nationwide Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance (KONSAR). The data were analyzed based upon hospital location and bed capacity. The results showed that cefoxitin-resistant E. coli and K. pneumoniae and 3rd-generation cephalosporin-resistant K. pneumoniae were prevalent, that 3rd-generation cephalosporin-resistant E. cloacae, S. marcesens and A. baumannii had increased, and ampicillin-resistant S. enterica were not rare. Oxacillin-resistant S. aureus, penicillin-non-susceptible pneumococci and β-lactamase-producing H. influenzae were prevalent even smaller hospitals surveyed, and an increase of imipenem-resistant P. aeruginosa and vancomycin-resistant E. faecium is a new obvious threat. In general, resistance rates to some old antimicrobial agents, i.e., E. coli to ampicillin and S. aureus to oxacillin were high and did not vary greatly between the different levels of hospitals, while the rates to some of the newer ones, i.e., P. aeruginosa to imipenem, was quite variable and depended on the hospitals, probably reflecting difference in selective pressure.
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