Thirty-four recent clinical isolates of Streptococcus faecalis were tested for sensitivity to amoxycillin, benzylpenicillin, streptomycin, kanamycin, gentamicin, tobramycin, and amikacin. Amoxycillin was two- to four-fold more active than benzylpenicillin and all strains were inhibited by low concentrations of the penicillins. The aminoglycosides were less active against the enterococci than were the penicillins and a significant number of strains were insensitive or relatively insensitive to one or more of the aminoglycosides. Thus, eight (23%) strains showed a high level of resistance to streptomycin and kanamycin (MIC greater 5000 microng/ml) but were sensitive to gentamicin, tobramycin, and amikacin. In addition, two strains of Strep. faecalis, isolated at different hospitals from patients who had received topical gentamicin therapy, were relatively resistant to gentamicin (MIC250 to 500 microng/ml) and were less sensitive also to the other aminoglycosides. Bactericidal synergy was demonstrated by amoxycillin/aminoglycoside combinations against the enterococci, provided that the test strain of Strep. faecalis was sensitive to the aminoglycoside in the combination. An exception to this was the combination of amoxycillin plus amikacin which was not synergistic against kanamycin-resistant strains of Strep. faecalis although these organisms were sensitive to amikacin in the growth inhibition tests. The gentamicin-resistant strains showed variable responses to amoxycillin/aminoglycoside combinations in tests for bactericidal synergy and were generally less sensitive than typical strains of Strep. faecalis.
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