As a part of an intervention project, all detected carriers of penicillin-resistant pneumococci (PRP) (MIC, > or = 0.5 mg/L) in Malmöhus County, southern Sweden, were followed by means of weekly nasopharyngeal cultures. The median duration of carriage in 678 individuals was 19 days (range, 3-267 days). The duration of carriage was longest in children < 1 year old (median, 30 days) and shortest in adults > 18 years old (median, 14 days). Index cases, whose cultures were performed during an acute infection, were carriers for a mean of 10 days longer than asymptomatic contact cases (P < .05). The PRP spontaneously disappeared from the nasopharynx within 4 weeks in 68%, within 8 weeks in 87%, and within 12 weeks in 94% of the individuals. Other significant risk factors for prolonged carriage were the occurrence of > 6 episodes of acute otitis media (AOM) or first episode of AOM before the age of 1 year (P < .01), the carriage of PRP by other family members (P < .05), and the obtainment of a first positive culture during the winter months (P < .05).