A collection of 201 isolates of was examined: 152 methicillin-sensitive (MSSA) comprised 48 blood culture isolates (BC) and 58 isolates from routine diagnostic specimens (RD) from Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI), and 46 strains from nasal swabs of patients attending a general practitioner (GP); 49 isolates were of methicillin-resistant (MRSA) from GRI. We have previously shown that the MRSA could be divided into two sub-groups on the basis of sensitivity or resistance to aminoglycoside antibiotics. Production of enterotoxins A, B, C and D, and α-, β-, γ- and δ-haemolysins was detected by reverse passive latex agglutination (RPLA) and agar overlay methods respectively: 60% of BC MSSA and a similar proportion of MSSA from other sources produced enterotoxin; 87% of aminoglycoside-sensitive MRSA produced enterotoxin (89% of these produced enterotoxin A alone) whereas only 27% of aminoglycoside-resistant MRSA were enterotoxin-positive, significantly less than either MSSA or aminoglycoside-sensitive MRSA. The proportion of haemolysin-producing isolates did not differ amongst the isolates of MSSA and MRSA; there was no difference in the distributions of haemolysins between aminoglycoside-sensitive and -resistant strains of MRSA. GP MSSA had higher and lower numbers of γ- and δ-haemolysin producers respectively than other isolates. α-Haemolysin producers were commoner amongst MRSA isolates, which were also more likely than MSSA isolates to produce several haemolysins. Differences in enterotoxin production between aminoglycoside-sensitive and -resistant MRSA isolates reflect subgroups previously defined by biotype, phage type, immunoblot and restriction enzyme fragmentation pattern data, and provide further evidence for the existence of two major MRSA clones in GRI.


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