Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase

ESBL stands for “extended spectrum beta lactamase” and is a property found in certain bacteria. These bacteria form an enzyme that degrades certain antibiotics, including most antibiotics in the penicillin group. Most commonly, intestinal bacteria such as Escherichia coli and Klebsiella pneumoniae possess this types of properties. Since ESBL-producing bacteria spreads in the same way as ordinary intestinal bacteria, good hygiene is important. ESBL bacteria infection does not result in a more severe illness, but it may be harder to treat the infection in cases where treatment becomes necessary. 

A strong link exists between high antibiotic use and resistance caused by ESBL-producing bacteria.


Site updated 2016-01-15

Good to know

Antibiotics are drugs used to kill or inhibit bacterial growth. Antibiotics have no effect on infections caused by viruses or fungi. Consequently, use of antibiotics to treat influenza is completely ineffective.