This information describes extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL), including how it is spread and how infections are treated.
What is extended spectrum beta-lactamase?
Some germs, such as Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Klebsiella, produce an enzyme called extended spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL). This enzyme makes the germ more resistant to treatment with antibiotics.
ESBL can cause a variety of illnesses, including:
- Urinary tract infections
- Blood infections
- Wound infections
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 is causing illness.Back to top
How is ESBL spread?
Most ESBL infections are spread by direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids (blood, drainage from a wound, urine, stool, or sputum). They can also be spread by contact with equipment or surfaces that have been contaminated with the germ. Casual contact, such as touching or hugging, does not spread ESBL.Back to top
Who is at risk for an ESBL infection?
Healthy people are not at high risk for getting ESBL infections. ESBL infections occur more often in people who:
- Are older
- Have weakened immune systems
- Have chronic illnesses
- Have been treated with antibiotics in the past
- Had a recent surgery
- Have had repeated or prolonged hospitalizations
- Have open wounds or sores
- Have tubes or drains inserted in the body
What are the symptoms of an ESBL infection?
The symptoms vary depending on the location and type of infection.Back to top
How is an ESBL infection treated?
ESBL infections are treated with antibiotics that are not resistant to the germ.Back to top
What isolation precautions are taken in the hospital if I have an ESBL infection?
- If you have been diagnosed with an ESBL infection, you will be placed in a private room.
- A sign will be posted on the door instructing all staff and visitors to take precautions.
- All staff and visitors must clean their hands before going into and after leaving your room. They can use soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- All staff and visitors who enter your room must wear a yellow gown and gloves.
- 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
- Main lobby
- Any other public area of the hospital
- While following these isolation precautions, you can have art or massage therapy in your room.
- These precautions will be discontinued after you have received treatment and no longer have symptoms.
What precautions should I take at home if I have an ESBL infection?
Healthy people are not at high risk for getting ESBL infections. However, be sure to do the following at home:
- 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.
Where can I get more information about ESBL?
If you have any questions, speak with your doctor or nurse. You can also visit the following website for more information: