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Control of Enterobacteriaceae Producing Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase in Intensive Care Units: Rectal Screening May Not Be Needed in Non-Epidemic Situations

  • Michelle Thouverez (a1), Daniel Talon (a1) and Xavier Bertrand (a1)

To evaluate the usefulness of screening cultures in the control of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Enterobacteriaceae in intensive care units (ICUs).


A 4-year retrospective study.


Two adult ICUs of a university-affiliated public hospital in France.


A total of 7,777 specimens were analyzed and 28 (0.97%) of 2,883 screened patients had a positive result on a screening test, among the 3,678 admitted patients. Thirteen of these 28 patients were only carriers; 4 were carriers and then were colonized or infected 2, 2, 3, and 8 days later, respectively; and 11 were colonized or infected before a screening test was positive. Cluster analysis showed that the occurrence of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae cross-transmission within both ICUs was limited to 9 cases. Thus, most cases (19 of 28) were probably imported. Surveillance cultures failed to detect 9 of the 19 cases.


The low prevalence of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae carriers on admission (0.45%) and the relative ineffectiveness of our screening test to detect imported cases suggest that systematic detection of ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in ICU patients is not cost-effective and that the use of clinical cultures may be sufficient to control ESBL-producing Enterobacteriaceae in non-epidemic situations.

Corresponding author
Service d'Hygiène Hospitalière, CHU Jean Minjoz, 25030 Besançon cedex, France
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
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