Usage of antibiotics in southern Europe is less well regulated than in northern countries. The proportion (48%) of meningococci in Spain insensitive to penicillin (MIC ≥ 0·1 mg/l) prompted this investigation of antibiotic sensitivities of isolates from Greek patients with meningitis (31) and carriers (47 school-children and 472 recruits). The agar dilution method was used to determine MIC to penicillin G (PN), sulphamethoxazole (SU), rifampicin (RF), cefaclor (CF) and ciprofloxacin (CP).
The proportion of isolates insensitive to PN was 48% for isolates from patients, 19% from school-children and 36·6% from recruits. Resistance to SU (MIC ≥ 16 mg/l) was found in 16% of those from patients, 10·6% from children and 40% from recruits. None of the isolates from patients was resistant to RF (≥ 1 mg/l) but 6% of those from carriers were. Resistance to CF (≥ 4 mg/l) was found in 9·2% of patient isolates, 6·4% from children and 23·7% from recruits. All isolates except one were sensitive to CP (MIC range < 0·0015–0·125 mg/l).
Resistances to PN, SU and RF were analysed by serogroup, serotype and subtype of the bacteria. The proportion of resistant isolates showed some variation between different areas of Greece, but it was not statistically significant.