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Levofloxacin in the Treatment of Respiratory Tract Infections Due to Atypical Pathogens

Francesco Blasi, MD, PhD, Roberto Cosentini, MD, Paolo Tarsia, MD
Institute of Respiratory Diseases, University of Milan, and Department of Emergency Medicine, IRCCS Ospedale Maggiore Milano, Milan, Italy

The term "atypical pathogens" refers to a number of microorganisms that can cause so-called "atypical pneumonia" and other respiratory and probably non-respiratory diseases. The most important bacteria included in this group are Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia pneumoniae, and Legionella spp. In addition to mild-to-moderate illness, it is now known that these agents are capable of causing severe disease, can affect all age groups, and may predispose to co-infection with typical pathogens. Levofloxacin has been shown to possess good in vitro and in vivo activity against atypical pathogens. The coexistence of activity towards Streptococcus pneumoniae, even in the presence of resistant strains, has led to the inclusion of this antimicrobial agent as a first-line treatment option in all current guidelines on community-acquired pneumonia.

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Last updated January, 2003