Objective: In young children infections with resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli) can lead to life-threatening situations. Epidemiological data on the prevalence and major determinants of carriage of antibiotic resistant E. coli among children in the community setting are sparse.
Study design and setting: In a population-based study from Germany, stool samples were obtained from children aged 6 months to 4 years attending a pediatrician for a regular health screening (N=568) or an acute infection (N=316), as well as from their parents (N=1,594) and siblings (N=624). E. coli was cultured, and minimal inhibitory concentrations to various antibiotics were tested. We determined prevalences of E. coli resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics and their association with potential risk factors.
Results: Prevalence of E. coli resistance was 16.6%, 8.7%, and 11.6% for ampicillin, cotrimoxazole, and doxycycline, respectively. Strong associations were found with antibiotic resistance among siblings (odds ratios [95% confidence intervals] for ampicillin, doxycycline, and cotrimoxazole resistance: 4.4 [1.8-10.8], 8.0 [3.0-21.2], and 10.8 [3.5-32.7], respectively).
Conclusion: Resistance prevalences in this community-based study were much lower than those reported from the clinical sector. Household contacts seem to be the key factor for children;s colonization with resistant E. coli in the community setting.