Mother-to-child transmission of extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae

D. Danino, R. Melamed, B. Sterer, N. Porat, G. Hazan, A. Gushanski, E. Shany, D. Greenberg, A. Borer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Background: Preterm infants are at high risk for extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (ESBL-E) sepsis and neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) outbreaks. Maternal colonization with ESBL-E may be precursory to mother-to-child transmission. However, there is no consensus regarding surveillance of pregnant women for ESBL-E colonization. Aim: To identify pairs of mothers and infants harbouring same-strain ESBL-E colonization and to determine whether maternal transmission may play a role in increasing ESBL-E carriage in preterm infants. Methods: This was a one-year analysis from an ongoing, prospective ESBL-E surveillance of mothers of premature infants and their offspring. Mother–infant pairs colonized with the same bacteria underwent strain analysis using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Clinical parameters were collected from the hospital computerized records. Findings: Between January 2015 and January 2016, 313/409 (76.5%) mothers and all 478 (100%) infants were screened for ESBL-E colonization; carriage rates were 21.5% and 14.8%, respectively. Four (5.6%) colonized infants developed late-onset sepsis and two (2.8%) died. Twenty-five mother–infant pairs colonized with the same bacterial strain were identified; a subgroup of 10 pairs of isolates underwent PFGE, and 70% displayed an identical PFGE fingerprint. No similarities were found between isolates recovered from unrelated neonates and mothers. ESBL-E colonization was found significantly earlier in infants of mothers colonized at birth (P<0.001) compared with infants of non-colonized mothers. Conclusions: ESBL-E carriage rates in mothers and NICU infants with non-negligible maternal–neonatal ESBL-E transmission in the study region indicate that maternal colonization surveillance and/or further infection control interventions should be considered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-46
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hospital Infection
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Colonization
  • ESBL
  • Mother-to-child transmission
  • Preterm infants


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