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BMC Infect Dis. 2005 Oct 15;5:86.

Extended spectrum beta-lactamases among Gram-negative bacteria of nosocomial origin from an intensive care unit of a tertiary health facility in Tanzania.

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  • 1Institute of Internal Medicine, University of Bergen, N-5021, Bergen, Norway.



Resistance to third generation cephalosporins due to acquisition and expression of extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) enzymes among Gram-negative bacteria is on the increase. Presence of ESBL producing organisms has been reported to significantly affect the course and outcome of an infection. Therefore infections due to ESBL isolates continue to pose a challenge to infection management worldwide. The aim of this study was to determine the existence and to describe phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of ESBLs in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) setting in Tanzania.


Between October 2002 and April 2003, clinical information and samples were collected from patients suspected to have nosocomial infections in an Intensive Care Unit of a tertiary hospital in Tanzania. The isolates were identified, tested for antimicrobial susceptibility and analysed for presence of ESBL genes.


Thirty-nine Gram-negative bacteria were isolated from clinical samples of 39 patients. These isolates included 13 Escherichia coli, 12 Enterobacter spp, 5 Pseudomonas spp, 4 Proteus spp, 2 Klebsiella. pneumoniae, 2 Citrobacter freundii and 1 Chryseomonas luteola. Eleven (28.2%) of these isolates were ESBL producing. The ESBL genes characterised were SHV-12, SHV-28 and CTX-M-15. The ESBL producing isolates were more resistant to gentamicin and ciprofloxacin than non-ESBL producing isolates.


This study shows the presence of ESBL genes among Gram-negative bacteria in the ICU setting in Tanzania. There is a need to institute strict hospital infection control policy and a regular surveillance of resistance to antimicrobial agents.

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