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Molecular Characterization of the R Factors Implicated in the Carbenicillin Resistance of a Sequence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Strains Isolated from Burns

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An outbreak of R-factor-mediated carbenicillin resistance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa in burned patients in March 1969 was followed by a second outbreak 6 months later. No R-factor-carrying P. aeruginosa strains were detected in the intervening period but R-factor-determined lactamase was commonly encountered, particularly in Klebsiella aerogenes strains. A comparison of the molecular properties of the R factors in pseudomonads from the first and second phases with those in the Klebsiella strains from the intervening period showed them to be very closely related. A single R-factor type therefore may have been maintained in the Burns Unit between the two Pseudomonas outbreaks as a plasmid conferring resistance to ampicillin in K. aerogenes.

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