The diversity of 103 clinical isolates of the complex obtained between 1991 and 1997 from 17 Czech hospitals was studied by ribotyping, biotyping, plasmid profiling and antibiotic susceptibility testing. According to the RI ribotypes, all but one of these isolates were identified to the DNA group level: 77 isolates were allocated to DNA group 2 (), 14 to DNA group 3, 10 to DNA group 13 Tjernberg and Ursing and one to DNA group 1 (). In total, 50 different RI ribotypes and 10 biotypes were observed. Plasmids were found in 92% of the isolates and a high variability in plasmid profiles was found in isolates of the same DNA group. The combination of typing profiles allowed two predominant groups (termed A and B) to be distinguished among the isolates (37 and eight isolates, respectively) that shared a specific ribotype and were highly similar in other properties. These two groups comprised both sporadic and outbreak isolates and were found in most localities. Group A and B isolates were markedly more resistant to antibiotics than most of the remaining isolates, thus representing 85% of all multiresistant isolates. The features of groups A and B corresponded to those of two epidemic clones identified recently among hospital strains in north-western Europe.


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