Hospital stay: how many patients are affected by nosocomial infections?

The latest survey on the prevalence of nosocomial infections conducted by Public Health France shows that one hospitalized patient out of 18 contracts an infection during his hospital stay.

Since 1990, a national survey of the prevalence of nosocomial infections has been conducted in health establishments. Nosocomial infections are those infections that a patient contracts during his care in a health establishment, and which were neither present nor incubating at the start of this care.

For the latest survey, conducted in 2022, 1,155 healthcare establishments participated (i.e. one in two establishments) including 151,676 patients. The results show a prevalence of infected patients of 5.71%, i.e. one in 18 hospitalized patients with at least one nosocomial infection. A percentage increase compared to that of 2017, which was 4.98%.

“But if we exclude nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 infections, the prevalence of infected patients was 5.35%, therefore relatively stable, underline the authors of this study from Public Health France.

16% of infections in cancer centers

The percentage of nosocomial infections is higher in cancer centers (15.81%) and CHR/CHU (8.58%), intensive care units (23.17%) and medical services (6.84%), which are categories of institutions and types of services in which patients are at increased risk of infectious complications due to their immune status.

The four main locations of nosocomial infections (urinary tract infections, pneumonia, surgical site infections and bacteraemia) represent 70.7% of infectious sites, which has not changed since the last survey, which dates back to 2017.

Similarly, the four main microorganisms (Escherichia coliStaphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa) accounted for 48.3% of infection microorganisms, a relatively stable proportion compared to 2017 (50.2%).

1 in 6 patients on antibiotics

The results of the survey show that one out of 6 hospitalized patients was on antibiotic treatment for systemic use, ie a prevalence of 16.24%. One in four patients was treated with antibiotics in intensive care units (49.19%) and one in two in medicine (25.72%) or surgery (26.97%) departments.

“The prevalence of patients treated with antibiotics increased by 7.5% between 2017 and 2022” underline the authors who encourage the continuation of preventive actions in favor of the proper use of antibiotics.

Nosocomial infections in figures

  • Prevalence of infected patients: 5.71%
  • Patients infected outside Covid-19: 5.35%
  • Prevalence of nosocomial infections: 6.06%
  • Infections hors Covid-19 : 5,66 %
  • Patients treated with antibiotics: 16.24%

Source : Nosocomial infections and anti-infective treatments in healthcare establishments: Results of the 2022 national prevalence survey, Public Health France, May 2023

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