Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase Infection



Certain bacteria cause the infections. Some people carry them without being sick. but can spread it to others. In the U.S., they are spread by touching people. In other countries they may spread through food or water that has them.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in Asia and Northern Africa. Travel to these areas raises the risk. However, it can happen anywhere. It is also more common in older people.

Other things that raise the risk are:

  • Being in a hospital or nursing home for a long time
  • Having a history of antibiotic use
  • Having health problems such as:
    • Frequent urinary tract infections
    • Diabetes
    • Liver or kidney disease
  • Being on a ventilator—to help with breathing
  • Using a tube to drain urine from the bladder



Symptoms depend on the where the ESBL infection is. They may be:

  • Fever or chills
  • Belly pain
  • Pain and burning when passing urine
  • Redness or warmth near a wound
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of hunger
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Breathing problems


The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam may be done. Tests will be done to check for bacteria. They may be:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Stool tests
  • Swabs for cultures



Only certain antibiotics can treat ESBL infections.


Health care staff can lower the risk of infection by:

  • Washing hands before and after touching people and surfaces
  • Wearing a gown or gloves

Others can lower their risk by:

  • Washing hands often
  • Using antibiotics as advised

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.