Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase

Beta lactamase is a chemical produced by bacteria. Only a few bacteria make beta lactamase. These bacteria do not make beta lactamase all of the time. When they do, the bacteria usually protects itself from antibiotics. This means that the bacteria can keep growing, and the person with the infection will stay sick. Bacteria that produce beta lactamase are said to be "resistant" to many antibiotics.

The chemical is called an Extended Spectrum Beta Lactamase (ESBL) when it gives the bacteria strong resistance to many antibiotics. People who become infected with bacteria that produce ESBL may become very ill.

Testing is done to help diagnose and treat the infection. Testing is first done to find out which germ is causing the infection. Additional tests are done to see if the bacteria causing the infection are making ESBL. If the bacteria are making ESBL, then further tests are done to find exactly which antibiotics will or will not help control the infection. This allows your caregiver to identify a treatment so you can get better faster.


Your caregiver may ask for samples of blood, urine or other body fluids. If ESBL is present, it would be found in blood or body fluids.




This test helps your caregiver determine whether you have an infection with bacteria that make ESBL. This will allow your caregiver to choose the best treatment for you.


It is your responsibility to obtain your test results. Ask the lab or department performing the test when and how you will get your results.