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J Clin Microbiol. 2004 Oct;42(10):4769-75.

Dramatic increase in prevalence of fecal carriage of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae during nonoutbreak situations in Spain.

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  • 1Servicio de Microbiología, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid, Spain.


The occurrence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing isolates has increased worldwide. Fecal carriage of ESBL-producing isolates has mainly been detected in nosocomial outbreaks, and few studies have evaluated fecal carriage during nonoutbreak situations and among patients in the community. We have studied the prevalence of ESBLs in 1,239 fecal samples from 849 patients (64.1% of whom were ambulatory) in 1991 and have compared the prevalence data with those obtained in 2003 for 400 fecal samples from 386 patients (75.9% of whom were ambulatory) and 108 samples from independent healthy volunteers. Samples were diluted in saline and cultured in two MacConkey agar plates supplemented with ceftazidime (1 microg/ml) and cefotaxime (1 microg/ml), respectively. Colonies were screened (by the double-disk synergy test) for ESBL production. The clonal relatedness of all ESBL-producing isolates was determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis with XbaI digestion; and the ESBLs of all ESBL-producing isolates were characterized by isoelectric focusing, PCR, and sequencing. The rates of fecal carriage of ESBL-producing isolates increased significantly (P < 0.001) in both hospitalized patients and outpatients, from 0.3 and 0.7%, respectively, in 1991, to 11.8 and 5.5%, respectively, in 2003. The rate of occurrence of ESBL-producing isolates among healthy volunteers was 3.7%. All ESBL-producing isolates recovered in 2003 were nonepidemic clones of Escherichia coli. ESBL characterization revealed an increasing diversity of ESBL types: TEM-4 and CTX-M-10 were the only enzymes detected in 1991, whereas TEM-4, TEM-52, SHV-12, CTX-M-9, CTX-M-10, CTX-M-14, and a CTX-M-2-like enzyme were recovered in 2003. The ESBL-producing isolates recovered from outpatients in 2003 corresponded to a CTX-M-9-type cluster (62.5%) and SHV-12 (31.2%), whereas TEM-4 was detected only in hospitalized patients. The frequencies of coresistance in isolates recovered in 2003 were as follows: sulfonamide, 75%; tetracycline, 64.3%; streptomycin, 57.1%; quinolones, 53.5%; and trimethoprim, 50%. The increased prevalence of fecal carriage of ESBL-producing isolates during nonoutbreak situations in hospitalized patients and the establishment of these isolates in the community with coresistance to non-beta-lactam antibiotics, including quinolones, represent an opportunity for these isolates to become endemic.

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