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Pseudomonas pseudomallei, the causative agent of melioidosis, is generally susceptible to some of the newer extended-spectrum cephalosporins or to combinations of a beta-lactam and clavulanic acid, a beta-lactamase inhibitor. Resistance to these agents may, however, emerge during treatment. We report on alterations in the chromosomal beta-lactamase associated with the development of resistance. Three resistance patterns resulted from three different mechanisms in the strains investigated. Derepression of the chromosomal enzyme resulted in a general increase in the MICs of all of the beta-lactams tested. The second mechanism observed was an insensitivity to inhibition of the beta-lactamase by clavulanic acid. In this case, the level of susceptibility to beta-lactams as independent entities remained unchanged. The final "resistance" pattern occurred in a patient treated with ceftazidime and resulted in a beta-lactamase that was capable of hydrolyzing this antibiotic at detectable levels, but with reduced efficacy against other beta-lactams. The net result was a strain that was generally susceptible to all of the beta-lactams tested except ceftazidime. In all cases, the level of susceptibility to antibiotics other than beta-lactams remained unchanged. Such variability found within one genus over a relatively short time course suggests that treatment of infections caused by this organism should be carefully monitored to detect susceptibility alterations to the chosen therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date





1635 - 1640