Prevalence of Antibiotic Tolerance and Risk for Reinfection among Escherichia coli Bloodstream Isolates: A Prospective Cohort Study

Gilad Lazarovits, Orit Gefen, Noga Cahanian, Karen Adler, Ronen Fluss, Irit Levin-Reisman, Irine Ronin, Yair Motro, Jacob Moran-Gilad, Nathalie Q. Balaban, Jacob Strahilevitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Tolerance is the ability of bacteria to survive transient exposure to high concentrations of a bactericidal antibiotic without a change in the minimal inhibitory concentration, thereby limiting the efficacy of antimicrobials. The study sought to determine the prevalence of tolerance in a prospective cohort of E. coli bloodstream infection and to explore the association of tolerance with reinfection risk. Methods: Tolerance, determined by the Tolerance Disk Test (TDtest), was tested in a prospective cohort of consecutive patient-unique E. coli bloodstream isolates and a collection of strains from patients who had recurrent blood cultures with E. coli (cohorts 1 and 2, respectively). Selected isolates were further analyzed using time-dependent killing and typed using whole-genome sequencing. Covariate data were retrieved from electronic medical records. The association between tolerance and reinfection was assessed by the Cox proportional-hazards regression and a Poisson regression models. Results: In cohort 1, 8/94 isolates (8.5%) were tolerant. Using multivariate analysis, it was determined that the risk for reinfection in the patients with tolerant index bacteremia was significantly higher than for patients with a nontolerant strain, hazard ratio, 3.98 (95% confidence interval, 1.32-12.01). The prevalence of tolerance among cohort 2 was higher than in cohort 1, 6/21(28.6%) vs 8/94 (8.5%), respectively (P =. 02). Conclusions: Tolerant E. coli are frequently encountered among bloodstream isolates and are associated with an increased risk of reinfection. The TDtest appears to be a practicable approach for tolerance detection and could improve future patient management.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1706-1713
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number10
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.


  • antimicrobials
  • bloodstream infection
  • tolerance


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