Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection or ESBL Infection is a common problem that can make the antibiotics useless. In fact, ESBLs are used by the bacteria in order to become resistant to even strong antibiotics. The common types of bacteria which produce ESBLs are E. Coli and Klebsiella. Let us understand what Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection or ESBL Infection is, its symptoms, spread, treatment and its prevention.

What is Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases Infection or ESBL Infection?

Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases (ESBL) is actually an enzyme which can bestow resistance to most of the beta-lactam antibiotics, such as penicillins, monobactam aztreonam, and cephalosporins. In short, ESBL are a kind of enzymes or chemicals which can cause many bacterial infections. Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase infection or ESBL infection is such infection caused by these enzymes. These ESBL enzymes can cause some of the antibiotics not to work efficiently for treating different bacterial infections.

E. Coli is actually a harmless bacteria living in your gut. However, E.coli can cause food poisoning as well as bacterial infections. Moreover, Klebsiella is another kind of harmless bacteria which can reside in your nose, gut, and mouth. However, it can cause urinary tract infections. While E. Coli and Klebsiella can normally be treated using normal antibiotics, but when these bacteria produce any kind of ESBL, they can cause severe infections which can no longer be treated by antibiotics. In such cases, it is imperative to consult a doctor who can recommend a mode of treatment for Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase infection or ESBL infection.

Symptoms of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases Infection

Symptoms of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases Infection

Symptoms of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection or ESBL infection depend upon the kind of bacterial infection which has given rise to ESBLs.

Frequent Urination - If you are suffering from UTI, the common symptoms of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection or ESBL infections can include the need to urinate more frequently, burning urination or pain before, during or after urination.

Skin Infections - Sometimes one may suffer from skin infections with Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases. One may witness a reddened skin around the infected area and can even observe fluid coming from it.

Gastro-Intestinal Disorders - If there is an infection in the gut with Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases, one may experience a loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, fever, excessive bloating or gastric problem and blood in stool. These are the common symptoms of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection or ESBL infection, in those affected with gastrointestinal infections.

Blood Infection - If ESBL infection enters into the blood, the symptoms of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection may include disorientation, chills, fever, and trouble in breathing, vomiting, and nausea.

Spread of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases Infection

It is important to know about the spread of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases Infection or ESBL infection, so as to take the necessary precautions.

Dirt and Fecal Matter

Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infections or ESBL infection often spread by touching infected water or dirt which contains the bacteria. This transmission is more common through water and soil which is contaminated with animal or human fecal matter. Even touching the animals which are carrying the bacteria can also lead to transmission of ESBL bacteria and spread of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases (EBSL) infection.

Resistance to Antibiotics

Some infections which develop resistance to the antibiotics can also amplify the chances of spread of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infections.

Surface and Airborne Infection

Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infections or ESBL infections can also spread by touching someone or by leaving bacteria on any surface which has been touched by someone else. For example, shaking hands, handling any object, which is handled by someone infected and breathing the air infected too can cause spread of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection.

Colonization

In some situations, Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases bacteria may spread while you remain unaware of it. This process of transmitting Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection unknowingly is known as colonization. During colonization, your body may be carrying the bacteria but may not be active. If you are colonized, you may not need treatment, but if you pass on the ESBL infection to someone else, then they may need treatment.

ESBL infections are commonly transmitted in hospitals, by doctors, healthcare professionals and nurses. Spread of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection can also be more in people staying in closed and crowded places like hostels, dormitories, day care centers, etc.

Treatment of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases

Treatment of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infections or ESBL infection include medication and changes in lifestyle.

Medications Which Include:

  • Carbapenems - These can be effectual in treatment of infections caused by E.coli and Klebsiella bacteria.
  • Fosfomycin - Another treatment for ESBL bacterial infections is Fosfomycin medicine.
  • Antibiotics - Other treatment options for ESBL bacterial infections include beta-lactamase inhibitors, nonbeta-lactam antibiotics and colistin.

Changes in Lifestyle

As an important part of treatment of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection or colonization, targeted nutrition and hygiene plan is suggested. This will prevent the infection from breaking out. It is advisable to wash anything before you use, as a precaution against Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection.

Prevention of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases Infection or ESBL Infection

Here are some of effective ways of prevention of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases (ESBL) infection.

  • Washing of Hands - The best way of prevention of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection is washing your hands properly and frequently. Washing hands become all the more important if you are working in or visiting a healthcare facility. Moreover, washing hands can also prevent you from colonization of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection.
  • Gloves - Wearing gloves is an effective way of prevention of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infections, especially if you are visiting any hospital. The gloves can also prevent you from picking any kind of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection.
  • Change Your Bed Sheets Regularly - It is also important to wash your bedding and personal belongings, which you have used while you were suffering from Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection. If possible, discard the bed sheets used by the Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infected person to prevent its spread.
  • Isolation - It is always advisable to keep the person suffering from Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection in isolation. This is an effective way of prevention of Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection

Conclusion

Hence, it is clear that Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamases infection is highly contagious and therefore it becomes necessary to take necessary preventive steps to avoid getting infected with it. Modification in the lifestyle and following healthier habits can assure you a healthy and happy life.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: April 5, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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