Caretaker knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) and carriage of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing E. coli (ESBL-EC) in children in Quito, Ecuador



Rachel Marusinec 1, Kathleen M Kurowski 1, Heather K Amato 1, Carlos Saraiva-Garcia 2, Fernanda Loayza 2, Liseth Salinas 2, Gabriel Trueba 2, Jay P Graham 3

1Berkeley School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA.
2Microbiology Institute, Colegio de Ciencias Biologicas Y Ambientales, Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Quito, Ecuador.
3Berkeley School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA. Esta dirección de correo electrónico está siendo protegida contra los robots de spam. Necesita tener JavaScript habilitado para poder verlo..

PMID: 33407927 PMCID: PMC7789729 DOI: 10.1186/s13756-020-00867-7



Background: The rapid spread of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing E. coli (ESBL-EC) is an urgent global health threat. We examined child caretaker knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) towards proper antimicrobial agent use and whether certain KAP were associated with ESBL-EC colonization of their children.

Methods: Child caretakers living in semi-rural neighborhoods in peri-urban Quito, Ecuador were visited and surveyed about their KAP towards antibiotics. Fecal samples from one child (less than 5 years of age) per household were collected at two time points between July 2018 and May 2019 and screened for ESBL-EC. A repeated measures analysis with logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between KAP levels and child colonization with ESBL-EC.

Results: We analyzed 740 stool samples from 444 children living in households representing a range of environmental conditions. Of 374 children who provided fecal samples at the first household visit, 44 children were colonized with ESBL-EC (11.8%) and 161 were colonized with multidrug-resistant E. coli (43%). The prevalences of ESBL-EC and multidrug-resistant E. coli were similar at the second visit (11.2% and 41.3%, respectively; N = 366). Only 8% of caretakers knew that antibiotics killed bacteria but not viruses, and over a third reported that they "always" give their children antibiotics when the child's throat hurts (35%). Few associations were observed between KAP variables and ESBL-EC carriage among children. The odds of ESBL-EC carriage were 2.17 times greater (95% CI: 1.18-3.99) among children whose caregivers incorrectly stated that antibiotics do not kill bacteria compared to children whose caregivers correctly stated that antibiotics kill bacteria. Children from households where the caretaker answered the question "When your child's throat hurts, do you give them antibiotics?" with "sometimes" had lower odds of ESBL-EC carriage than those with a caretaker response of "never" (OR 0.48, 95% CI 0.27-0.87).

Conclusion: Caregivers in our study population generally demonstrated low knowledge regarding appropriate use of antibiotics. Our findings suggest that misinformation about the types of infections (i.e. bacterial or viral) antibiotics should be used for may be associated with elevated odds of carriage of ESBL-EC. Understanding that using antibiotics is appropriate to treat infections some of the time may reduce the odds of ESBL-EC carriage. Overall, however, KAP measures of appropriate use of antibiotics were not strongly associated with ESBL-EC carriage. Other individual- and community-level environmental factors may overshadow the effect of KAP on ESBL-EC colonization. Intervention studies are needed to assess the true effect of improving KAP on laboratory-confirmed carriage of antimicrobial resistant bacteria, and should consider community-level studies for more effective management.

Keywords: Antibiotic resistance; Children; ESBL; ESBL-EC; Ecuador; Escherichia coli; Extended-spectrum beta-lactamase; KAP; Knowledge; attitudes and practices.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors have no competing interests.