Of 505 strains of Enterobacteriaceae responsible for significant bacteriuria and isolated from hospital patients in two Greek cities in 1989, 151 strains (30%) were resistant to trimethoprim (MIC 4 mg/L) and 220 (44%) were resistant to sulphamethoxazole (MIC 64 mg/L); 127 (84%) of the trimethoprim-resistant strains exhibited high-level resistance (MIC > 1024 mg/L) and 121 (80%) were additionally resistant to four or more other antibiotics. Plasmids were detected in 141 (93%) of the trimethoprim-resistant strains. Trimethoprim resistance was encoded on self-transmissible plasmids in 79 (52%) of the resistant strains, and in a further seven strains (5%), plasmids coding for trimethoprim resistance could be mobilised by X factor. Co-transfer of various other antimicrobial resistances with trimethoprim resistance was observed, tetracycline resistance being the most common. The low degree of linkage observed between trimethoprim resistance and resistance to streptomycin and spectinomycin suggests that Tn7 is relatively uncommon in Greece. Classification of trimethoprim-resistance plasmids on the basis of their antimicrobial-resistance patterns and molecular mass revealed 39 different profiles. Overall, these findings differ from those from other European countries where the prevalence of transferable high-level trimethoprim resistance is low and where chromosomal Tn7-encoded trimethoprim resistance is common.


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