Five plasmid-mediated beta-lactamases conferring high-level resistance to ceftazidime were isolated from Klebsiella pneumoniae strains in the same hospital. These enzymes had isoelectric points ranging from 5.3 to 6.5 (CAZ-1, 5.55; CAZ-2, 6.0; CAZ-3, 5.3; CAZ-6, 6.5; and CAZ-7, 6.3). All isolates and their Escherichia coli transconjugants were highly resistant to amoxicillin (MICs, greater than 4,096 micrograms/ml), piperacillin (64 to 256 micrograms/ml), cephalothin (32 to 256 micrograms/ml), and ceftazidime (32 to 512 micrograms/ml) but remained moderately susceptible to cefotaxime (0.5 to 8 micrograms/ml). Only CAZ-6- and CAZ-7-producing strains were highly resistant to aztreonam (64 to 128 micrograms/ml). All the isolates remained susceptible to moxalactam and imipenem. The reduced activity of piperacillin, cefotaxime, ceftazidime, or aztreonam was restored by 2 micrograms of clavulanate, sulbactam, tazobactam, or brobactam per ml for E. coli producing CAZ-2, CAZ-3, and CAZ-7. Sulbactam had a lower protective effect than other inhibitors for E. coli harboring CAZ-1 and especially CAZ-6. Except for CAZ-1, which was mediated by a 150-kilobase (kb) plasmid (pCFF14), the other ceftazidimases were mediated by plasmids of 85 kb with EcoRI digestion patterns similar to that of pCFF04 encoding CTX-1 beta-lactamase. A TEM probe hybridized with a 19-kb EcoRI fragment of all these closely related plasmids.