During a one-year period, 258 isolates of and were obtained from children with gastroenteritis or bacteraemia at the Red Cross Children's Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa. These isolates were biotyped by hippurate hydrolysis, HS production and tolerance to 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC). Our study indicated that 95·4% of the isolates were biotype 1, 1·5% were biotype 2 and 3·1% were ; 70% of the isolates were resistant to TTC. Serotyping on the basis of soluble, thermostable antigens detected by a passive-haemagglutination technique revealed that 79% of the Cape Town isolates were typable and that the most common serotypes, in order, were: 4, 2, 12, 23/36 and 19, together comprising 25% of the isolates. About 37% of the typable isolates belonged to nine serotypes. The finding that 21% of the isolates were non-typable suggests the existence of antigenic specificities different from those defined by the 60 antisera in current use.


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