Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) producing gram-negative bacilli are a growing concern in human medicine today. When producing these enzymes, organisms (mostly K. pneumoniae and E. coli) become highly efficient at inactivating the newer third-generation cephaloporins (such as cefotaxime, ceftazidime, and ceftriaxone). In addition, ESBL-producing bacteria are frequently resistant to many classes of non-beta-lactam antibiotics, resulting in difficult-to-treat infections. This review gives an introduction into the topic and is focused on various aspects of ESBLs; it covers the current epidemiology, the problems of ESBL detection and the clinical relevance of infections caused by ESBL-producing organisms. Therapeutic options and potential strategies for dealing with this growing problem are also discussed in this article.