ESBL Infection Overview

ESBL Infection

The ESBL infection is a disease that is difficult to treat because of multiresistant pathogens and has been spreading in some areas.

What is an ESBL infection?

As part of a definition of the disease known by the abbreviation ESBL infection, it is important to write this abbreviation out in full. An ESBL infection means that the organism is impaired by bacteria that specialize in Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase. At first glance, these are very difficult to associate with an infectious disease.

According to eshaoxing, the ESBL infection takes place primarily in the intestinal system and is based on an impairment caused by the inactivation of antibiotic drugs by enterobacteria. In the case of ESBL infection, this is based on the change in the enzyme beta lactamase achieved by pathogenic bacteria, which interrupts the effect of antibiotics.

Different bacterial strains of the enterococci have this ability. As a result of these processes, an ESBL infection leads to resistance to antibiotics. In the case of an ESBL infection, this means that other diseases can hardly or not at all be treated with antibiotics.


The causes of the ESBL infection include, in particular, the pathogens known as gram-positive enterobacteria. These bacteria are in the intestines of healthy people, are also absorbed from the environment and contribute to the functionality of the intestinal flora.

The impairment of the healthy genetic information of the enterobacteria can lead to an ESBL infection. The causes of the ESBL infection are therefore genetically modified bacteria in the intestine.

The ESBL infection occurs predominantly in people who have a weakened immune system. In the case of ESBL infection, these are predominantly sick, elderly people and young children. For this reason, the ESBL infection occurs predominantly in the context of hospitalism in hospitals and care facilities and can also be transmitted through excretions such as feces.

Symptoms, ailments & signs

As a rule, there are no symptoms or symptoms that are particularly characteristic of the disease with an ESBL infection. The symptoms depend very much on the exact location of the infection, although everyone reacts differently to the ESBL infection. This infection usually results in an infection of the urinary tract, which is associated with severe pain when urinating.

This pain is felt to be burning or stabbing. Likewise, the wound healing of the patient is generally slowed down significantly, so that injuries or cuts can only heal very slowly. The infections can also spread to the internal organs and irreversibly damage them. In the worst case, this can lead to the death of the person affected by the ESBL infection.

The ESBL infection also often leads to inflammation in the lungs, which is associated with severe breathing difficulties and restrictions in everyday life. If the pneumonia is not treated, it can also develop into a chronic disease. In general, most of those affected by the ESBL infection also appear tired and exhausted and no longer take an active part in everyday life. Pus often forms on wounds due to the ESBL infection, and the wound can also have an unpleasant smell.

Diagnosis & course

A clear diagnosis of the ESBL infection can only be made after a comprehensive laboratory examination and testing of the patient. In this context, samples of excretions as well as swabs of the mucous membranes and wounds are taken in order to examine them for any germs of the ESBL infection. The microbiological evaluation of the results also shows the presence of enterobacteria for an ESBL infection.

Those affected carry the ESBL infection to such an extent that the germs are increasingly present in the mucous membrane of the large intestine, the urinary and respiratory tract and lead to pathological symptoms there. In the case of ESBL infection, many enterobacteria are present at the entrance to the urethra. The course of the ESBL infection in ventilated patients and those in need of care, in which the pathogens of the ESBL infection can also contribute to diseases in other organs, is problematic in this context.

Typical forms of ESBL infection are untreatable urinary tract infections, poorly healing wounds and pneumonia. With regard to the wound healing disorders, an ESBL infection is characterized by brownish wound edges with pus and a strong odor of putrefaction on the wounds.


An ESBL infection can cause various symptoms and complications. These depend heavily on the spread of the pathogen and the affected body region. For this reason, a general forecast is usually not possible. Often, however, there are problems with the stomach and intestines.

The affected person suffers from diarrhea and vomiting. There is a general feeling of illness and a general feeling of weakness. The patient is no longer able to perform physical or sporting activities. In many cases, the kidneys and urethra are also affected, making urination painful.

The quality of life decreases sharply due to the ESBL infection. In some cases, the airways become infected, which can make breathing difficult. This can also cause pneumonia. Treatment is complicated because the germs are resistant to common antibiotics.

A hospital stay is usually necessary in the event of an ESBL infection. If the infection is treated successfully, there will be no further complications and life expectancy will not be reduced.

When should you go to the doctor?

If any unusual infections are noticed on the skin, lungs, or urinary tract, a doctor should be consulted. The ESBL infection can cause a wide variety of symptoms and should therefore be diagnosed or ruled out by a doctor at the first suspicion. Anyone who feels the symptoms mentioned after contact with foreign body fluids or animals should see a doctor immediately.

People with a weakened immune system, kidney failure or pressure ulcers are particularly at risk. Likewise, bedridden people and elderly patients who rely on an indwelling catheter or dialysis. If you belong to these risk groups, it is best to clarify the typical signs immediately with the responsible doctor.

Parents who suspect their child may be infected with ESBL should make an appointment with the pediatrician. Medical advice is required at the latest when complications such as diarrhea and vomiting as well as a general feeling of weakness are noticed. As the disease progresses, increasing breathing difficulties indicate a serious underlying disease that needs to be clarified in hospital and treated if necessary.

Treatment & Therapy

Treatment of the ESBL infection is possible to a limited extent, especially since those affected mostly get sick in clinics, hospitals and inpatient care facilities. The multi-resistant germs, which are insensitive to many antibiotic drugs in ESBL infection, can only be treated with very few antibiotics.

In addition, the therapy of the ESBL infection is primarily about the treatment of secondary diseases that are currently evident. To treat the ESBL infection, the ESBL-forming bacteria must be eliminated from the organism. This is hardly feasible in the case of ESBL infection, since there are hardly any effective antibiotics available.

In some cases, patients are treated with something called a high-potency antibiotic known as an oxazolidinone called linezolid. In the application against the germs that may trigger the ESBL infection, drug-specific antibiotics such as quinupristine, daptomycin, tigecycline are also available and have been used for some time.

Outlook & forecast

The ESBL infection is a difficult to treat disease with a mostly unfavorable prognosis. The disease triggers are multi-resistant germs, on which many drugs remain ineffective. If a drug can be found to which the organism responds, the prognosis improves. With the current medical possibilities, the development can be documented in only a few patients. In these cases, the spread of the symptoms can be curbed and the symptoms regress.

In most cases, when the disease breaks out, patients are already in an inpatient or clinical stay. You are sick and have a weakened immune system as a result of the circumstances. The prerequisites make the therapy more difficult and have a negative influence on the overall success of the treatment.

The ESBL infection is often described as untreatable. A very large number of patients show a chronic course of the disease, in which the onset of further diseases is ultimately to be prevented. If complications arise, the prognosis deteriorates further. If the wound healing is disturbed, the patient is at risk of sepsis. This poses a potential threat to life. In addition, the risk of pneumonia is increased. In severe cases, this disease can also lead to premature loss of life.


The prevention of an ESBL infection is mainly based on comprehensive hygienic, disinfection and sterilization-related measures. These prevent the bacteria from being transmitted to other weakened people and must be observed in particular by hospital and nursing staff in known cases of ESBL infection. So-called hand hygiene plays an important role in preventing an ESBL infection from becoming infected.


With an ESBL infection, in most cases there are no special measures or options for follow-up care available to the person affected. The patient is primarily dependent on early diagnosis and treatment so that the symptoms do not worsen or further complications arise. However, the disease can be treated relatively well if it is detected early.

After a successful treatment, no further special follow-up measures are necessary. In order to prevent the ESBL infection, the person affected should disinfect himself particularly in the respective areas and pay attention to a high standard of hygiene. In most cases, ESBL infection is treated with the help of antibiotics or other drugs. It should be noted that the antibiotics must not be taken together with alcohol, otherwise their effect will be reduced.

These drugs should usually be taken after the symptoms have subsided in order to completely defeat the disease. Bed rest should be ensured during treatment, and strenuous or stressful activities should be avoided. No further measures are necessary for a treatment. Complete treatment does not result in a reduced life expectancy for the person affected.

You can do that yourself

The ESBL infection consists mainly of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that were acquired through unsanitary conditions. The self-help measures are limited.

In the event of infection, the emergency medical service must be involved. The symptom has a massive impact on the urinary and intestinal systems, as well as on the skin and respiratory tract. Sufferers are treated clinically and must take various precautions once they have recovered. Most patients, the elderly, children and the chronically ill who succumb to an ESBL infection have a weakened immune system.

Therefore, this group of people should generally ensure that they live in a hygienically clean environment in everyday life. This includes the correct washing of clothes, especially work clothes and daily personal hygiene. In the professional field, the prescribed disinfection standards must be adhered to, as they serve to protect yourself and third parties. When using public toilets, it is advisable to carry a disinfectant spray with you, as the symptom can also be infected via doorknobs and toilet seats.

As the highest level of self-help, the immune system must be strengthened over the long term. This includes quitting smoking and giving up alcohol, drug and drug abuse. Sufficient exercise, sauna visits and diet also play a major role in permanently strengthening the immune system. The diet should contain healthy fiber, be low in fat, rich in vitamins and minerals and be provided with positive fatty acids such as omega-3 and omega-6.

ESBL Infection