Background: Increasingly, Enterobacteriaceae isolates that are positive for the extended-spectrum-beta-lactamase (ESBL) by phenotypic screening tests yield a negative result when tested with the reference Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) ESBL confirmatory test. The aim is to determine to what extent the different plasmid AmpC (pAmpC) genotypes could affect the CLSI ESBL confirmatory test for detection of the ESBL phenotype in ESBL/pAmpC co-producers.
Methods: A total of 253 Enterobacteriaceae isolates were screened for ESBL and AmpC production according to CLSI guidelines. Out of 186 ESBL and AmpC-screen-positive isolates, 96 isolates were selected for ESBL confirmation by the combined disc diffusion test (CDDT) as well as for detection of the most common ESBL and pAmpC encoding-genes by multiplex PCR.
Results: Out of the 96 ESBL/AmpC-screen-positive isolates, all (100%) were positive for at least one of the investigated ESBL genes, and 88 (91.7%) were positive for any of the investigated pAmpC genes. CDDT correctly identified ESBL phenotype more frequently in non-pAmpC carriers than pAmpC carriers (75% vs. 52.3%). CIT alone-containing isolates were associated more with non-confirmed ESBL phenotype rather than confirmed ESBL phenotype (76.2% vs. 30.4%, p < 0.001), especially when co-harbored blaCTXM alone (76.9% vs. 33.3%, p < 0.001) or both blaCTXM/blaSHV genes (100% vs. 0%). On the other hand, DHA-carrying isolates were more associated with confirmed ESBL phenotype than with non-confirmed ESBL phenotype when co-harboring either blaCTXM alone (47.6% vs. 0%, p < 0.001) or blaCTXM/blaSHV genes (100% vs. 0%, p = 0.022) or blaCTX-M/blaTEM genes (100% vs. 0%, p = 0.03).
Conclusions: For ESBL/pAmpC co-producers of Enterobacteriaceae, CDDT results vary with the type of pAmpC genes and with different ESBL/pAmpC genotype combinations. Therefore, the ESBL-screening test is more sensitive than the CDDT in detecting ESBL phenotype among ESBL/pAmpC coproducers of Enterobacteriaceae.