The plasmid profiles of 112 clinical isolates of were determined by two reproducible, rapid, plasmid screening methods. Plasmid DNA was present in 15% of isolates examined. Plasmids varied in size from 1·2 × 10 to 60·2 × 10 mol. wt. The dominant serotypes encountered were O:11 and O:4, which comprised 38% and 12% of strains, respectively. Four pyocin types (1, 10, 3 and 5) dominated (respective frequencies: 56, 15, 12 and 6%). Reproducibility of pyocin typing was distinctly inferior to both plasmid profiling and serotyping. Strains of identical serotypes could be further differentiated by dissimilar plasmid profiles. Serologically untypable or polyagglutinable strains were successfully characterised by plasmid profile patterns. Thus, plasmid profiling was shown to be a useful adjunct to serotyping for the epidemiological typing of .


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