Extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) are a group of plasmid-mediated, diverse, complex and rapidly evolving enzymes that are posing a major therapeutic challenge today in the treatment of hospitalized and community-based patients. Infections due to ESBL producers range from uncomplicated urinary tract infections to life-threatening sepsis. Derived from the older TEM is derived from Temoniera, a patient from whom the strain was first isolated in Greece. β-lactamases, these enzymes share the ability to hydrolyze third-generation cephalosporins and aztreonam and yet are inhibited by clavulanic acid. In addition, ESBL-producing organisms exhibit co-resistance to many other classes of antibiotics, resulting in limitation of therapeutic option. Because of inoculum effect and substrate specificity, their detection is also a major challenge. At present, however, organizations such as the Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (formerly the National Committee for Clinical Laboratory Standards) provide guidelines for the detection of ESBLs in Klebsiella pneumoniae, K. oxytoca, Escherichia coli and Proteus mirabilis. In common to all ESBL-detection methods is the general principle that the activity of extended-spectrum cephalosporins against ESBL-producing organisms will be enhanced by the presence of clavulanic acid. Carbapenems are the treatment of choice for serious infections due to ESBL-producing organisms, yet carbapenem-resistant isolates have recently been reported. ESBLs represent an impressive example of the ability of gram-negative bacteria to develop new antibiotic-resistance mechanisms in the face of the introduction of new antimicrobial agents. Thus there is need for efficient infection-control practices for containment of outbreaks; and intervention strategies, e.g., antibiotic rotation to reduce further selection and spread of these increasingly resistant pathogens.
Keywords: Extended-spectrum β-lactamases; Gram negative bacteria (GNB) and Antimicrobial resistance.