Background: The epidemiology of antibiotic-resistant Enterobacteriaceae intestinal carriage in healthy US children has not been well characterized.
Methods: Children between 14 days and 14 years of age were enrolled during well-child visits in Oakland, California, Kansas City, Kansas, and Nashville, Tennessee, between December 2013 and March 2015. Data on recent antibiotic use by the child and travel and hospitalization history of all members of each child's household were obtained with a risk-factor survey. Stool specimens collected from the subjects were screened for extended-spectrum β-lactamase-producing (ESBL-P) bacteria using CHROMagar ESBL medium. Putative ESBL-P Escherichia coli and Klebsiella colonies underwent phenotypic confirmation by double-disk synergy testing; confirmed third-generation cephalosporin-resistant (3GCR) isolates underwent additional antibiotic-susceptibility testing.
Results: In 519 subjects, the overall 3GCR Enterobacteriaceae carriage rate was 4.4% (n = 23) and ranged from 3.4% to 5.1% among the study sites. The ESBL-P Enterobacteriaceae carriage rate was 3.5% (n = 18). The rates of 3GCR Enterobacteriaceae carriage was highest in 1 to <2 year olds at 6.5%, and was 5.2% in <5 year-olds vs 1.7% in ≥5-year-olds (P = .11). 3GCR and ESBL-P Enterobacteriaceae carriage was associated with international travel within the previous year; 11.1% of ESBL-P Enterobacteriaceae carriers reported this history compared with 1.6% of noncarriers (P = .004). No other queried factor was found to increase risk. Of the 24 analyzed 3GCR isolates, 58% were multidrug resistant.
Conclusions: The 3GCR Enterobacteriaceae carriage rate exceeds 5% in healthy US children <5 years of age. International travel within the previous year increased the risk of 3GCR and ESBL-P Enterobacteriaceae carriage. In contrast, we found no differences in the rates of hospitalization or recent antibiotic exposure between carriers and noncarriers. Young children, who have the highest prevalence of colonization, might be a sentinel population to study to gain a better understanding of community sources of antibiotic-resistant Enterobacteriaceae.