Prior use of antibiotics is associated with carriage of resistant bacteria. Colonization by Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, nonpneumococcal α-hemolytic streptococci (NPAHS), and Staphylococcus aureus was evaluated in children receiving antibiotic therapy for acute otitis media and in untreated, healthy control subjects. Children were randomly assigned to receive either amoxicillin/clavulanate (90 mg/kg per day) or azithromycin. Swabs were obtained before initiating therapy and again 2 weeks and 2 months after initiating therapy. We also obtained swabs from control subjects at the time of enrollment and 2 weeks and 2 months after enrollment. The decrease in the rate of carriage of S. pneumoniae and H. influenzae at 2 weeks was significant only in the amoxicillin/clavulanate group (P< .001 and P = .005, respectively). The rate of nasopharyngeal colonization with NPAHS among treated patients increased from 23% to 39% at 2 months (P = .01). This increase was similar for both treatment groups. These results suggest that the competitive balance between organisms is altered by antibiotic therapy.
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