Organisms producing extended-spectrum -lactamases (ESBLs) have been reported in many countries, but there is no information on the prevalence of ESBL-producing members of the family Enterobacteriaceae in Ireland. A total of 925 isolates of ampicillin-resistant members of the Enterobacteriaceae were received from six hospitals in Ireland over a 3-year period from September 1996 to September 1999. Isolates were screened for ESBL production by the double-disk diffusion (DDD) method. DDD-positive isolates that were (i) confirmed as ESBL producers by National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards (NCCLS) confirmatory testing and (ii) susceptible to cefoxitin by disk diffusion were considered ESBL producers. By these criteria, 27 (3%) of the ampicillin-resistant members of the Enterobacteriaceae studied were categorized as ESBL producers. Molecular typing suggested that some intraand interhospital spread of ESBL-producing isolates had occurred. DNA sequencing of amplified blaTEM and blaSHV genes resulted in the detection of a novel blaTEM ESBL gene, blaTEM-102 in two isolates (Klebsiella pneumoniae and Enterobacter cloacae) received from the same hospital but isolated from different patients. The study suggests dissemination of ESBL-producing bacteria within the health care system in Ireland and emphasizes the need for measures to control such spread.