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2019-01-14

Highlights from recent surveys on HAIs in European countries

Results of an European survey on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) has been published recently. In 2016 and 2017, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) conducted two surveys on HAIs, which offer the most exhaustive insights into the current European HAI situation.

This blog post summarizes the results from the recent paper written by Carl Suetens et al.. Suetens et al. based their paper on two point prevalence studies organized by ECDC in the period from 2016 to 2017. The term ‘point prevalence’ stands for the number of patients with at least one HAI at a particular point in time. Therefore, the data from any single department were collected on one single day.

In total 1,275 acute care hospitals with 325,737 patients and 1,798 long term care facilities with 103,763 residents were included in the analyzed data.

The studies surveyed health facilities from all 28 EU countries, Iceland and Norway from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Macedonia and Serbia (EU candidate countries). In total 1,275 acute care hospitals with 325,737 patients and 1,798 long term care facilities with 103,763 residents were included in the analyzed data. Denmark and Sweden provided data only on long term facilities. The participating hospitals were selected by systematic random sampling. The selected hospitals then provided exhaustive data from all their departments.

The participating EU and EEA acute care hospitals reported 19,626 HAIs in 18,287 patients (1.07 HAI per infected patient) on the day of the survey. The average HAI prevalence rate was 5.5%, the lowest prevalence rate was observed in Lithuania (2.9%), the highest in Greece (10.0%). The Czech Republic, with 6.7%, was above the average. It was no surprise, that the prevalence rate was highest in patients admitted to intensive care units.

The estimated incidence rate in the participating EU and EEA countries is 3.7%, which means 3,293,595 infected patients each year.

The HAI prevalence rate based on the sample data together with the average number of occupied beds allows estimating the average number of patients with HAI on a particular day. E.g., 80,665 patients on any given day in participating EU and EEA countries or 2,732 patients in the Czech Republic.

The authors also used the survey data to estimate the HAI incidence – the number of patients with at least one HAI during a specified time interval, usually a year. The estimated incidence rate in the participating EU and EEA countries is 3.7%, which means 3,293,595 infected patients each year. After the correction for the non-participating EU countries (Denmark and Sweden), the total number of the infected patients in EU and EEA countries is estimated at 3,372,146 annually. In the Czech Republic, the estimated incidence rate is 5.4%, i.e., 122,313 patients with at least one HAI, annually.

The most frequent HAI types in the EU and EEA are the respiratory tract infections (21.40% pneumonia and 4.27% other lower respiratory tract infections), urinary tract infections (18.90%) and surgical site infections (18.35%).

Resources:
Suetens Carl, et al. Prevalence of healthcare-associated infections, estimated incidence and composite antimicrobial resistance index in acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities: results from two European point prevalence surveys, 2016 to 2017. Euro Surveill. 2018

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