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Results from the third Scottish National Prevalence Survey: is a population health approach now needed to prevent healthcare-associated infections?

Published:April 02, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhin.2018.03.038

      Summary

      Background

      Healthcare-associated infections (HCAIs) are a major public health concern and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. A robust and current evidence base that is specific to local, national and Europe-wide settings is necessary to inform the development of strategies to reduce HCAI and contain antimicrobial resistance.

      Aim

      To measure the prevalence of HCAI and antimicrobial prescribing and identify key priority areas for interventions to reduce the burden of infection.

      Methods

      A national rolling point-prevalence survey (PPS) in National Health Service (NHS) acute, NHS non-acute, NHS paediatric, and independent hospitals was carried out between September and November 2016 using the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control protocol designed for the European PPS.

      Findings

      The prevalence of HCAI was 4.6%, 2.7%, and 3.2% in acute adults, paediatric and non-acute patient groups, respectively. The most frequent HCAI types reported in adult patients were urinary tract infection and pneumonia. The prevalence of antimicrobial prescribing was 35.7%, 29.3%, and 13.8% in acute adults, paediatric, and non-acute patient groups, respectively. Respiratory, skin and soft tissue, gastrointestinal, and urinary tract infections were the most common infections being treated at the time of survey.

      Conclusion

      HCAI continues to be a public health concern in Scotland. Urinary tract infection and pneumonia continue to place a significant burden on patients and on healthcare delivery, including those that develop in the community and require hospital admission. A broader population health approach which focuses on reducing the risk of infection upstream would reduce these infections in both community and hospital settings.

      Keywords

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