Apramycin is a recently developed aminoglycoside restricted to veterinary therapy. Production of a 3-aminoglycoside acetyltransferase type IV (AAC(3)-IV) conferring cross-resistance to this drug and to gentamicin was detected in 1984 in France in bacteria of bovine origin. This mechanism of resistance was apparently confined to animals. We have studied 17 strains resistant to apramycin and gentamicin isolated in 5 hospitals in Belgium. Conjugative plasmids encoding an AAC(3)IV were present in 14 isolates. Comparison of the restriction fingerprints revealed 6 different plasmid patterns: 8 plasmids belonged to 2 groups sharing extensive intragroup homology and 4 were not related to the other replicons. These results indicate dissemination of plasmids within and between hospitals, but also of the gene encoding an AAC(3)IV.