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Clin Infect Dis. 2012 Oct;55(7):967-75. doi: 10.1093/cid/cis581. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

Transmission dynamics of extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae in the tertiary care hospital and the household setting.

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Institute for Infectious Diseases, University of Bern, Switzerland.



Studies about transmission rates of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae in hospitals and households are scarce.


Eighty-two index patients with new carriage of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-Ec; n = 72) or ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (ESBL-Kp; n = 10) and their hospital (n = 112) and household (n = 96) contacts were studied prospectively from May 2008 through September 2010. Isolates were phenotypically and molecularly characterized (sequencing of bla genes, repetitive extragenic palindromic polymerase chain reaction, pulse-field gel electrophoresis, and multilocus sequence typing). Transmission was defined as carriage of a clonally-related ESBL producer with identical bla(ESBL) gene(s) in the index patient and his or her contact(s).


CTX-M-15 was the most prevalent ESBL in ESBL-Ec (58%) and ESBL-Kp (70%) in the index patients. Twenty (28%) ESBL-Ec isolates were of the hyperepidemic clone ST131. In the hospital, transmission rates were 4.5% (ESBL-Ec) and 8.3% (ESBL-Kp) and the incidences of transmissions were 5.6 (Ec) and 13.9 (Kp) per 1000 exposure days, respectively. Incidence of ESBL-Kp hospital transmission was significantly higher than that of ESBL-Ec (P < .0001), despite implementation of infection control measures in 75% of ESBL-Kp index patients but only 22% of ESBL-Ec index patients. Detection of ESBL producers not linked to an index patient was as frequent (ESBL-Ec, 5.7%; ESBL-Kp, 16.7%) as nosocomial transmission events. In households, transmission rates were 23% for ESBL-Ec and 25% for ESBL-Kp.


Household outweighs nosocomial transmission of ESBL producers. The effect of hospital infection control measures may differ between different species and clones of ESBL producers.

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