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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1982 May;21(5):773-9.

Structural and phenotypic varieties of gentamicin resistance plasmids in hospital strains of Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci.


We previously described a neonatal nursery epidemic of infections caused by a single strain of Staphylococcus aureus bearing a gentamicin resistance plasmid (Vogel et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 13:466-472, 1978). The same plasmid was present in two isolates of Staphylococcus epidermidis from the patients in this nursery and was transferable interspecifically from either S. aureus or S. epidermidis. During the ensuing 3 years, in the absence of further epidemics, we collected 162 gentamicin-resistant strains of S. aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci from patients distributed throughout our hospital. Gentamicin resistance plasmids obtained from 41 representative S. aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococcal strains differed as determined by phenotypic and molecular analyses from the plasmid in the neonatal nursery epidemic. Nevertheless, these plasmids were structurally related to each other and to the plasmid of the original epidemic. Our results suggest an evolutionary relationship among these plasmids and support the hypothesis of a genetic reservoir of gentamicin resistance in coagulase-negative staphylococci transferable to S. aureus.

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