Br J Ophthalmol 93:116-119 doi:10.1136/bjo.2008.142364
  • Original Article
    • Laboratory science

Activity of antibiotics against Fusarium and Aspergillus

  1. S Day1,
  2. P Lalitha2,
  3. S Haug1,
  4. A W Fothergill3,
  5. V Cevallos1,
  6. R Vijayakumar2,
  7. N V Prajna2,
  8. N R Acharya1,4,
  9. S D McLeod1,4,
  10. T M Lietman1,4
  1. 1
    Department of Ophthalmology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  2. 2
    Aravind Eye Hospital, Madurai, India
  3. 3
    University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, Fungal Testing Laboratory, Department of Pathology, San Antonio, Texas, USA
  4. 4
    Francis I Proctor Foundation, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Dr T M Lietman, Francis I Proctor Foundation, Room S309, 513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143-0944, USA; tom.lietman{at}
  • Accepted 27 September 2008
  • Published Online First 24 October 2008


Background/aims: To study the susceptibility of Fusarium and Aspergillus isolated from keratitis to amoxicillin, cefazolin, chloramphenicol, moxifloxacin, tobramycin and benzalkonium chloride (BAK).

Methods: 10 isolates of Fusarium and 10 isolates of Aspergillus from cases of fungal keratitis at Aravind Eye Hospital in South India were tested using microbroth dilution for susceptibility to amoxicillin, cefazolin, chloramphenicol, moxifloxacin, tobramycin and BAK. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) median and 90th percentile were determined.

Results: BAK had the lowest MIC for both Fusarium and Aspergillus. Chloramphenicol had activity against both Fusarium and Aspergillus, while moxifloxacin and tobramycin had activity against Fusarium but not Aspergillus.

Conclusions: The susceptibility of Fusarium to tobramycin, moxifloxacin, chloramphenicol and BAK and of Aspergillus to chloramphenicol and BAK may explain anecdotal reports of fungal ulcers that improved with antibiotic treatment alone. While some of the MICs of antibiotics and BAK are lower than the typically prescribed concentrations, they are not in the range of antifungal agents such as voriconazole, natamycin and amphotericin B. Antibiotics may, however, have a modest effect on Fusarium and Aspergillus when used as initial treatment prior to identification of the pathological organism.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Funding: That Man May See, NEI U10-EY015114 and K23EY017897, Research to Prevent Blindness. The funding organisations had no role in the design or conduct of this research.

  • Ethics approval: Ethics approval was provided by the institutional review boards of the Aravind Medical Research Foundation and the University of California San Francisco.

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