To study the hospital epidemiology of , 343 isolates from infected hospitalised patients (112), infected out-patients (102), and from the faeces of uninfected hospitalised patients (47) and normal subjects in the community (82), were examined by an immunofluorescence technique. In tests with antisera against strains of 20 distinct serotypes of the fragilis group of , 271 (79%) strains were typable. Similarity between strains was estimated by the Jaccard similarity measure and strains were then serogrouped by cluster analysis; 88.1% of hospital strains were typable but only 71.2% of community strains (p < 0.001). Three serogroups were prevalent among both faecal and infection isolates of hospital strains (p < 0.01). However, no particular serogroup was prevalent among community strains and no difference was found in the distribution of serogroups between strains from faeces and those from infected lesions. One serogroup showed a significant increase (p < 0.05) within the period of study. These findings suggest that strains of infecting hospitalised patients may be acquired in hospital and that they may spread to other patients.


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