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J Clin Microbiol. 1997 Sep;35(9):2191-7.

Comparison of screening methods for detection of extended-spectrum beta-lactamases and their prevalence among blood isolates of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella spp. in a Belgian teaching hospital.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, University Hospital Antwerp, Edegem, Belgium.


Using a set of 33 well-defined extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing strains of Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, we compared three screening methods for ESBL detection: (i) a double-disk synergy test, (ii) a three-dimensional test (both the double-disk synergy test and the three-dimensional test were performed with ceftriaxone, ceftazidime, aztreonam, and cefepime), and (iii) the Etest ESBL screen (AB Biodisk, Solna, Sweden), based on the recognition of a reduction in the ceftazidime MIC in the presence of clavulanic acid. In the double-disk test, all four indicator antibiotics scored equally and 31 of the 33 reference strains were recognized. In the three-dimensional test, ceftriaxone was the only satisfactory indicator and 30 ESBL-positive strains were detected by this antibiotic. Both systems produced two false-positive results with cefepime. With the Etest ESBL screen, 15 of 16 TEM-related and 11 of 16 SHV-related ESBL-producing strains scored positive. In 10 cases the clavulanic acid on one end of the strip interfered with the MIC determination for ceftazidime, which was read on the opposite end. This MIC had to be determined with an extra ceftazidime-only strip. No false-positive results were noted. Eighty-six blood isolates of E. coli and Klebsiella species were screened for ESBL expression by the double-disk and three-dimensional tests, both with ceftriaxone. Six strains with suspicious antibiogram phenotypes also gave positive results by the double-disk test. One E. coli strain remained undetected by the three-dimensional test. Identification of the enzymes suspected of being ESBLs by isoelectric focusing (all strains) and DNA sequencing (1 strain) confirmed the screening test results except for one Klebsiella oxytoca strain, which proved to be a hyperproducer of its chromosomal enzyme and which also had a negative Etest score. The five true ESBL producers were all confirmed by the Etest ESBL screen. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis proved that the E. coli strains were unrelated, but that two of the three K. pneumoniae strains were closely related.

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