SUMMARY: Biochemical reactions, 0 and K serotypes and presence of P-fimbriae were analysed in 116 strains isolated in blood cultures from patients with bacteraemia and in 99 faecal strains isolated from healthy individuals. By using biochemical typing, the strains could be grouped into six main clusters with similarity index >0.8 (Gower, 1971) and altogether 16 subclusters with similarity index 0.82-0-89. The most discriminating tests between the clusters were fermentation of D-tagatose, saccharose, salicin and sorbose. No single biochemical property could differentiate bacteraemic isolates from faecal strains, although strains isolated from blood were significantly more often found in certain subclusters, whereas other subclusters contained mainly control strains. Bacteraemic strains possessed P-fimbriae more often, especially strains isolated from patients with in the urine concomitantly with bacteraemia. Equally, no single reaction could separate P-fimbriated from non-P-fimbriated strains. D-Tagatose was fermented more often by the P-fimbriated strains; on the other hand, melibiose and lactose fermentation tests were less often positive. Certain 0 serotypes (01, 04, 06, 07, 018 and 025) were more common among bacteraemic isolates than controls. K serotypes such as K 1, K5 and K52 were also more frequent among blood isolates. We conclude that a combination of biochemical tests, fimbriation and serotyping might be used to identify potentially pathogenic clusters of


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