The nasopharyngeal carriage rate of potential respiratory pathogens was studied in 36 index children with a pneumococci nonsusceptible to penicillin (PNSP), in 595 healthy children, and in 123 personnel at 16 day-care centers (DCCs) with index cases in the Stockholm area, an urban area with a low incidence of antibiotic resistant pneumococci, during the winter of 1997-1998. The spread and clonality of PNSP, Haemophilus influenzae and Moraxella catarrhalis, were studied by analyzing antibiotic susceptibility and serotype, and for PSNP also by using pulsed-field electrophoresis (PFGE) and multilocus sequence typing (MLST). In contrast to the low carriage rate found among the adult contacts (2%), 40% of the children harbored pneumococci, of which 20% were PNSP. Nasopharyngeal colonization decreased with age. The 49 PNSP isolates consisted of 20 clones, of which 10 could be identified in more than one child attending the same or different DCCs. In five DCCs, we observed a spread of PNSP from the index case. A novel PNSP clone of type 35B, found to cause invasive disease in several states in the United States, was found to emerge among several carriers at two DCCs . A high proportion of PNSP isolates were multiresistant to antibiotics (34%), which has implications for treatment regimens, even in a country like Sweden where the proportion of PNSP currently is low (3-4%). One PNSP clone of type 9V found among the carriers, has been shown to cause invasive disease in Sweden as well as in other countries, suggesting that one reason for the occurrence of invasive PNSP clones may be their ability to colonize and spread among healthy carriers. Other internationally spread antibiotic resistant pneumococcal clones found were of types 9V, 19F, and 23F.