Research Article| Volume 135, P132-138, May 2023

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Use of the quantitative antibiogram method for assessing nosocomial transmission of ESBL-producing Enterobacterales in a French hospital

Published:March 12, 2023DOI:



      Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacterales (eESBL) have high prevalence in hospitals, but real-time monitoring of nosocomial acquisition through conventional typing methods is challenging. Moreover, patient-to-patient transmission varies between the main species, namely Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae, which draws into question the relevance of applying identical preventive measures.


      To detect eESBL cross-transmission events (CTEs) using the quantitative antibiogram (QA) method in combination with epidemiological data (combined QA method), and to determine the effectiveness of standard or contact precautions for eESBL species.


      First, a validation set was used to compare the relevance of the combined QA method with a combination of pulsed-field gel electrophoresis and epidemiological data (combined PFGE method). Next, a 4-year retrospective analysis was conducted to detect eESBL CTEs in hospitalized patients. Two species were screened – ESBL E. coli (ESBL-Ec) and ESBL K. pneumoniae (ESBL-Kp). During the study, standard precautions alone were applied to patients with ESBL-Ec, whereas contact precautions were applied for patients with ESBL-Kp.


      As a proof of concept, use of the combined QA method and the combined PFGE method for the detection of CTEs gave identical results for E. coli, and similar results for at least 75% of K. pneumoniae. Overall, 722 patients with ESBL-Ec isolates and 280 patients with ESBL-Kp isolates were included in the retrospective analysis. Nine and 23 CTEs were identified for E. coli and K. pneumoniae, respectively, involving 20 (2.7%) and 36 (12.8%) patients, respectively.


      The combined QA method constitutes a rapid tool for epidemiological surveillance to detect CTEs. In the study hospital, standard precautions are sufficient to prevent acquisition of ESBL-Ec, whereas contact precautions must be implemented to prevent acquisition of ESBL-Kp.


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