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The extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL)-producing clone ST131 (ESBL-ST131) has spread in healthcare settings worldwide. The reasons for its successful spread are unknown, but might include more effective transmission and/or longer persistence. We evaluated the colonisation dynamics of ESBL-producing (ESBL-EC), including ESBL-ST131, in a long-term care facility (LTCF) with an unusually high prevalence of rectal ESBL-EC colonisation. During a 14-month period, rectal or faecal samples were obtained from 296 residents during six repetitive prevalence surveys, using ESBL-selective culture. Transmission rates, reproduction numbers, and durations of colonisation were compared for ESBL-ST131 vs other ESBL-EC. Furthermore, the likely time required for ESBL-ST131 to disappear from the LTCF was estimated. Over time, the endemic level of ESBL-ST131 remained elevated whereas other ESBL-EC returned to low-level prevalence, despite comparable transmission rates. Survival analysis showed a half-life of 13 months for ESBL-ST131 carriage, vs two to three months for other ESBL-EC (p < 0.001). Per-admission reproduction numbers were 0.66 for ESBL-ST131 vs 0.56 for other ESBL-EC, predicting a mean time of three to four years for ESBL-ST131 to disappear from the LTCF under current conditions. Transmission rates were comparable for ESBL-ST131 vs other ESBL-EC. Prolonged rectal carriage explained the persistence of ESBL-ST131 in the LTCF.


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