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OBJECTIVES: To investigate trends in Escherichia coli resistance, bacteraemia rates and post-bacteraemia outcomes over time. METHODS: Trends in E. coli bacteraemia incidence were monitored from January 1999 to June 2011 using an infection surveillance database including microbiological, clinical risk factor, infection severity and outcome data in Oxfordshire, UK, with imported temperature/rainfall data. RESULTS: A total of 2240 E. coli (from 2080 patients) were studied, of which 1728 (77%) were susceptible to co-amoxiclav, cefotaxime, ciprofloxacin and gentamicin. E. coli bacteraemia incidence increased from 3.4/10,000 bedstays in 1999 to 5.7/10,000 bedstays in 2011. The increase was fastest around 2006, and was essentially confined to organisms resistant to ciprofloxacin, co-amoxiclav, cefotaxime and/or aminoglycosides. Resistant E. coli isolation rates increased similarly in those with and without recent hospital contact. The sharp increase also occurred in urinary isolates, with similar timing. In addition to these long-term trends, increases in ambient temperature, but not rainfall, were associated with increased E. coli bacteraemia rates. It is unclear whether resistant E. coli bacteraemia rates are currently still increasing [incidence rate ratio = 1.07 per annum (95% CI = 0.99-1.16), P = 0.07], whereas current susceptible E. coli bacteraemia rates are not changing significantly [incidence rate ratio = 1.01 (95% CI = 0.99-1.02)]. However, neither mortality nor biomarkers associated with mortality (blood creatinine, urea/albumin concentrations, neutrophil counts) changed during the study. CONCLUSIONS: E. coli bacteraemia rates have risen due to rising rates of resistant organisms; little change occurred in susceptible E. coli. Although the severity of resistant infections, and their outcome, appear similar to susceptible E. coli in the setting studied, the increasing burden of highly resistant organisms is alarming and merits on-going surveillance.

Original publication




Journal article


J Antimicrob Chemother

Publication Date





1514 - 1524


Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Anti-Bacterial Agents, Bacteremia, Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial, Escherichia coli, Escherichia coli Infections, Female, Humans, Incidence, Male, Middle Aged, United Kingdom