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J Infect Dis. 1980 Jul;142(1):106-12.

Sequential outbreaks of infection due to Klebsiella pneumoniae in a neonatal intensive care unit: implication of a conjugative R plasmid.


Sequential outbreaks of infection in a neonatal intensive care unit were due to multiple antibiotic-resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae of different serotypes. In investigations of these outbreaks, the transfer of resistance to gentamicin, ampicillin, cephalothin, carbenicillin, and kanamycin from gentamicin-resistant organisms to standard laboratory recipients and between recipients was observed. Purified plasmid DNA, isolated from all multiple antibiotic-resistant strains, was analyzed by agarose gel electrophoresis, which revealed a common, large plasmid component with a molecular size of 71 megadaltons. Analysis of drug-resistant progeny suggested this plasmid encoded resistance to antibiotics and the information needed for its transmission. The identity of the plasmid from three different sources was established by the use of restriction-enzyme fingerprinting. The dissemination and persistence of this plasmid in environmental and fecal organisms, despite the disappearance of multiple antibiotic-resistant K. pneumoniae, provided a potential source for spread to other bacteria.

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