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Int J Infect Dis. 2007 May;11(3):191-7. Epub 2007 Mar 6.

Detection of plasmid-mediated class C beta-lactamases.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Falk Medical Building Suite 3A, 3601 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Plasmid-mediated class C beta-lactamases are reported from Enterobacteriaceae with increasing frequency. They likely originate from chromosomal AmpC of certain Gram-negative bacterial species and subsequently are mobilized onto transmissible plasmids. There are reports of unfavorable clinical outcomes in patients infected with these organisms and treated with broad-spectrum cephalosporins. However, unlike class A extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBLs), no screening and confirmatory tests have been uniformly established for strains that produce class C beta-lactamases. Reduced susceptibility to cefoxitin is a sensitive but not specific indicator of class C beta-lactamase production. Simple confirmatory tests including tests using boronic acid compounds as specific class C beta-lactamase inhibitors have recently been developed. Their utilization will enable clinical microbiology laboratories to report those strains producing plasmid-mediated class C beta-lactamases as being resistant to all broad-spectrum cephalosporins, thus allowing physicians to prescribe appropriate antimicrobial therapy.

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