A search for nasopharyngeal carriers of Streptococcus pneumoniae was conducted in 573 children hospitalized in Durban, South Africa. Study subjects were divided into two groups, comprising 305 new admissions and 268 patients who had been hospitalized for more than 24 h. Of the 573 children 178(31%) yielded pneumococci on nasopharyngeal culture; 99 (32%) and 79 (29%) children in the new admission and in-patient categories respectively. Twenty-one (12%) pneumococci were resistant to penicillin, including 11 strains that were resistant to more than one antibiotic. Resistant pneumoeoeei belonged exclusively to serotypes 6 and 19 (Danish nomenclature), which were also the commonest serotypes among penicillin-sensitive strains. Factors that correlated with carriage of penicillin-resistant Pneumococci were hospitalization for more than 24 h, young age and recent exposure to beta-lactam antibiotics.
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