Extended Spectrum Beta-Lactamase (ESBL)

This information explains extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), including how it spread and how infections are treated.

What is the difference between being colonized and being infected with EBSL?

A person can be either colonized or infected with ESBL. If a person is colonized, it means that the germ is present on their skin or in a body opening, but they have no signs of illness. If a person is infected, it means that the germ is present on their skin or in a body opening and it’s causing illness.

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What isolation precautions are taken in the hospital if I have an ESBL infection?

Isolation precautions are steps we take to stop infections from spreading from person to person. If you have been diagnosed with an ESBL infection while you’re in the hospital:

  • You will be placed in a private room.
  • A sign will be posted on the door instructing all staff and visitors to clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer before going into and after leaving your room.
  • All staff and visitors will need to wear a yellow gown and gloves while in your room. These are available outside of your room and can be disposed of inside your room.
  • If you leave your room for tests, you must wear a yellow gown and gloves or be covered with a clean sheet.
  • If you leave your room to walk around the unit, you must wear a yellow gown and gloves.
  • You will not be able to go to the following areas of the hospital:
    • Pantry on your unit
    • Recreation center on M15
    • Pediatric recreation areas on M9
    • Cafeteria
    • Main lobby
    • Any other public area of the hospital
  • You can have art or massage therapy in your room while following isolation precautions.

You can stop following these precautions when you get treatment and can no longer pass the infection to others. Your doctor or nurse will tell you when you can stop following these precautions.

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What precautions should I take at home if I have an ESBL infection?

If you have an ESBL infection, follow these guidelines:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom.
  • Wash your hands after having contact with blood, urine, or drainage from a wound.
  • Use a disinfectant, such as Clorox® or Lysol®, to wipe any surface that may have been contaminated with the germ.
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