Antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are known to be prevalent in tertiary- care hospitals in Korea. Twenty hospitals participated to this surveillance to determine the nationwide prevalence of resistance bacteria in 1997. Seven per cent and 26% of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae were resistant to 3rd-generation cephalosporin. Increased resistance rates, 19% of Acinetobacter baumannii to ampicillin/sulbactam, and 17% of Pseudomonas aeruginosa to imipenem, were noted. The resistance rate to fluoroquinolone rose to 24% in E. coli, 56% in A. baumannii and 42% in P. aeruginosa. Mean resistance rates were similar in all hospital groups: about 17% of P. aeruginosa to imipenem, 50% of Haemophilus influenzae to ampicillin, 70% of Staphylococcus aureus to methicillin, and 70% of pneumococci to penicillin. In conclusion, nosocomial pathogens and problem resistant organisms are prevalent in smaller hospitals too, indicating nosocomial spread is a significant cause of the increasing prevalence of resistant bacteria in Korea.
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