The type of penicillinase plasmid carried by penicillin-resistant cultures of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from eight London hospitals has been determined.
Among `endemic' hospital staphylococci, cultures resistant to mercury salts and producing large amounts of A-type penicillinase, a high proportion of which is extracellular, are most common. C-type penicillinase is rarely associated with resistance to mercury salts.
The majority of strains resistant to penicillin and at least one other antibiotic carried the α-plasmid.
Possible reasons for the prevalence of the α-plasmid among endemic hospital staphylococci are discussed.
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