Pharyngeal micro-organisms of 131 Australian and Malaysian children and adults were compared by analysis of aerobic culture of throat swab specimens. Enteric Gram-negative bacilli were commonly isolated in small numbers from Malaysian adults whether they had sore throats (28%) or not (36%), but were detected in only 9% of Australian adults without sore throats and in only 12% and 4% of Malaysian children with and without sore throats respectively. In other respects microbiological findings were similar in the different groups of subjects studied. It is concluded that the pharyngeal carriage rate of enteric Gram-negative bacilli may differ substantially between different groups of normal individuals. Our findings also suggest that these micro-organisms do not have a pathogenic role in pharyngitis.