Extendeda spectrum beta lactamases (ESBLs)

Medical Definition of Extended spectrum beta lactamases (ESBLs)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Extended spectrum beta lactamases (ESBLs): enzymes made by bacteria that cause the bacteria to be resistant to a group of antibiotics known as beta-lactam antibiotics. This means that the antibiotic is not effective in fighting an infection caused by these bacteria. Beta-lactam antibiotics that can be ineffective against ESBL-producing bacteria include penicillins, cephalosporins, and aztreonam. Infections with bacteria that produce ESBL organisms have been associated with poor outcomes. Several different kinds of bacteria are able to produce ESBL, and there are at least 200 types of ESBL.

Reviewed on 10/29/2018

REFERENCE: Stratton, MD. Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamases: An Unappreciated Global Problem.


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