SUMMARY. Methicillin-resistant strains isolated at a single Melbourne Hospital between 1969 and 1981 were examined for susceptibility to a range of antimicrobial agents and for the presence of plasmid DNA. Isolates obtained during 1969 possessed a plasmid of mol. wt 20 x 10, encoding heavy metal resistance and penicillinase production, and a plasmid of mol. wt 2-8 x 10, mediating tetracycline resistance. In the majority of isolates obtained after 1973, these functions were chromosomally encoded. Before 1980, both high- and low-level chromosomally-encoded gentamicin resistances were encountered, whereas isolates from 1980 and 1981 displayed low-level gentamicin resistance only; the latter phenotype was most commonly mediated by a plasmid of mol. wt 18xl0 that also encoded resistance to tobramycin and kanamycin. Chloramphenicol resistance in strains isolated throughout the period was mediated by one of three plasmids, each of mol. wt 3 x 10.


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