Macrolides have been in use since the early 1950s and are a major alternative to the use of penicillins and cephalosporins for the treatment of infections due to gram-positive microorganisms (mostly beta-hemolytic streptococci and pneumococci); in addition, erythromycin is one of the safest antibiotics in clinical use.
However, resistance to erythromycin was reported shortly after this antibiotic was introduced and a rapid increase in macrolide resistance was observed in the 1980s. Surveillance of macrolide resistance is necessary and important as the incidence of macrolide resistance is highly variable with regard to the country and type of infection.
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