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Crit Care Res Pract. 2012;2012:625170. doi: 10.1155/2012/625170. Epub 2011 Jun 6.

ESBLs: A Clear and Present Danger?

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Department of Medical Microbiology, Charing Cross Hospital, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Fulham Palace Road, London W6 8RF, UK.


Extended spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) are enzymes produced by a variety of Gram negative bacteria which confer an increased resistance to commonly used antibiotics. They are a worrying global public health issue as infections caused by such enzyme-producing organisms are associated with a higher morbidity and mortality and greater fiscal burden. Coupled with increasing prevalence rates worldwide and an ever diminishing supply in the antibiotic armamentarium, these enzymes represent a clear and present danger to public health. This article aims to give an overview of the current situation regarding ESBLs, with a focus on the epidemiology and management of such infections.

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