The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) estimates that nine million cases of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) occur across Europe each year, with around one in 15 patients in acute care hospitals and one in 24 residents in long-term care facilities having at least one infection on any given day.
In the most comprehensive assessment of HAIs in Europe to date, microbiological testing rates were also found to be low and varied widely between countries.
A microorganism was reported for just over half (53%) of HAIs in acute care hospitals. For 11 per cent of the microorganisms reported, anti-microbial susceptibility testing results were not available. In long-term care facilities, over three-quarters of infections had no documented microbiological results. In long-term care facilities overall, microbiological test results were available for just 19 per cent. In acute care hospitals, the figure was 53 per cent.
"Our analysis shows that healthcare-associated infections still pose a major public health threat in European countries and healthcare institutions," says Pete Kinross from the ECDC. "The variability of microbiological testing suggests poor availability of information for effective treatment, as well as alertness to potential outbreaks."