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Abstract Background Infections caused by extended-spectrum β-lactamase–producing Enterobacterales (ESBL-E) among hospitalized neonates in sub-Saharan Africa pose significant clinical challenges. Data on prevalence and acquisition of ESBL-E carriage among hospitalized neonates in the region are few, and risk factors for transmission are not clearly defined. Methods In a cohort study of consecutive neonatal admissions to Kilifi County Hospital from July 2013 through August 2014, we estimated ESBL-E carriage prevalence on admission using rectal swab cultures and identified risk factors using logistic regression. Using twice-weekly follow-up swabs, we estimated the incidence and identified risk factors for ESBL-E acquisition in hospital using Poisson regression. Results The prevalence of ESBL-E carriage at admission was 10% (59/569). Cesarean delivery, older neonatal age, and smaller household size were significant risk factors. Of the 510 infants admitted without ESBL-E carriage, 238 (55%) acquired carriage during their hospital stay. The incidence of acquisition was 21.4% (95% confidence interval, 19.0%–24.0%) per day. The rate was positively associated with the number of known neonatal ESBL-E carriers and with the total number of neonates on the same ward. Conclusions Carriage of ESBL-E was common among neonates on admission, and in-hospital acquisition was rapid. The dissemination and selection of ESBL-E appears to be driven by hospital exposures, operative delivery, and neonatal ward patient density. Further attention to infection control, patient crowding, and carriage surveillance is warranted.

Original publication




Journal article


Clinical Infectious Diseases


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date





751 - 759