In a period of two years, 865 strains of Gram-negative bacilli other than Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolated from burns were identified by a range of tests. The commonest species were Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli, and Enterobacter cloacae. Many strains of Klebsiella aerogenes, Enterobacter aerogenes, and Bacterium anitratum were also found.
A large proportion of the strains were tested for sensitivity to nalidixic acid, ampicillin, kanamycin, chloramphenicol, tetracycline, and carbenicillin, and smaller numbers of strains were tested for sensitivity to cephaloridine, polymyxin, streptomycin, sulphadiazine, sulfamylon, and trimethoprim. The proportion of strains sensitive and resistant to different antibacterial agents varied widely with species of bacteria. A large proportion of the strains of E. coli and P. mirabilis were resistant to ampicillin, which was much used in treatment; resistance appeared least often towards nalidixic acid, kanamycin, trimethoprim, and gentamicin. Multiple resistance occurred less often among strains of E. coli than among Klebsiella spp, Enterobacter spp, and P. mirabilis.
Phage and serological typing of Ps. aeruginosa showed that most infections of burns with this organism were due to strains previously found in other patients in the same ward. Taken with other evidence, this supported the view that most infections with Ps. aeruginosa were not acquired from the patient's own flora but from sources in the hospital environment.
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