Transmission of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae in households outweighs nosocomial dissemination in the non-outbreak setting. Importation of ESBL producers into the hospitals is as frequent as transmission during hospital stay. ESBL–Klebsiella pneumoniae might be more efficiently transmitted within the hospital than ESBL–Escherichia coli.
Background. Studies about transmission rates of extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)–producing Enterobacteriaceae in hospitals and households are scarce.
Methods. Eighty-two index patients with new carriage of ESBL-producing Escherichia coli (ESBL-Ec; n = 72) or ESBL-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae (ESBL-Kp; n = 10) and their hospital (n = 112) and household (n = 96) contacts were studied prospectively from May 2008 through September 2010. Isolates were phenotypically and molecularly characterized (sequencing of bla genes, repetitive extragenic palindromic polymerase chain reaction, pulse-field gel electrophoresis, and multilocus sequence typing). Transmission was defined as carriage of a clonally-related ESBL producer with identical blaESBL gene(s) in the index patient and his or her contact(s).
Results. CTX-M-15 was the most prevalent ESBL in ESBL-Ec (58%) and ESBL-Kp (70%) in the index patients. Twenty (28%) ESBL-Ec isolates were of the hyperepidemic clone ST131. In the hospital, transmission rates were 4.5% (ESBL-Ec) and 8.3% (ESBL-Kp) and the incidences of transmissions were 5.6 (Ec) and 13.9 (Kp) per 1000 exposure days, respectively. Incidence of ESBL-Kp hospital transmission was significantly higher than that of ESBL-Ec (P < .0001), despite implementation of infection control measures in 75% of ESBL-Kp index patients but only 22% of ESBL-Ec index patients. Detection of ESBL producers not linked to an index patient was as frequent (ESBL-Ec, 5.7%; ESBL-Kp, 16.7%) as nosocomial transmission events. In households, transmission rates were 23% for ESBL-Ec and 25% for ESBL-Kp.
Conclusions. Household outweighs nosocomial transmission of ESBL producers. The effect of hospital infection control measures may differ between different species and clones of ESBL producers.