The distribution of Extended-Spectrum Beta-Lactamase-producing Gram-negative bacteria (ESBL-GNB) colonization sites is relevant for infection control guidelines on detection and follow-up of colonization. We questioned whether it is possible to rely solely on rectal swab culture for follow-up of ESBL-GNB colonization.
We retrospectively assessed ESBL-GNB colonization sites in patients in a tertiary hospital in the Netherlands. The Laboratory Information Management System was queried for all bacterial cultures obtained between January 2012 and August 2016. All patients with one or more cultures positive for ESBL-GNB were identified and the distribution of ESBL-GNB positive sample sites was assessed. A subgroup analysis was performed on patients for whom at least one rectal swab specimen was available.
We identified 1011 ESBL-GNB carriers with 16,578 specimens for analysis. ESBL-GNB were most frequently isolated from the rectum (506/1011), followed by the urogenital (414/1011) and respiratory tract (142/1011), and pus (136/1011). For 588 patients at least one rectal swab specimen was available. In this subgroup, ESBL-GNB colonization was detected only in the rectum in 55.4% (326/588) of patients, in 30.6% (180/588) in the rectum and a different culture site, and in 13.9% (82/588) no rectal colonization was detected.
Rectal colonization with ESBL-GNB was detected in 86% of ESBL-GNB carriers. However, in 14% of ESBL-GNB carriers we did not detect rectal colonization. Therefore, samples taken for follow-up of colonization with multi-drug resistant Gram-negative bacteria (MDR-GNB) should ideally also include samples from the site where the MDR-GNB was initially found.