Burden of healthcare-associated infections in europe: a systematic literature review
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Universita’ cattolica del sacro cuore, Section of Hygiene, University Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
Fondazione Policlinico Universitario A. Gemelli IRCCS
Vihtali-Universita’ cattolica del sacro cuore, Vihtali (Value In Health Technology and Academy for Leadership & Innovation), Spin-Off of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A966
Background & Objective:
Healthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) are a serious public health issues that contribute substantially to the global burden of mortality and morbidity. Their trend is constantly growing in Europe, with a severe impact also in terms of additional costs for health systems. In Europe HAIs affect about 4 million patients/year, with 16 million additional hospital days and over 37.000 deaths. The study aim was to assess through a systematic literature review (SLR) the epidemiological burden of HAIs in Europe.

A SLR was performed querying two databases (Pubmed, Web of Science) from 2012 to 2022. All studies in English language and focused on the epidemiological burden of HAIs in Europe were included.

Overall, 66 studies were included. It was described a range of HAIs prevalence (4.6–49.3%) in the general population. In the adult population, the prevalence varied from 0.44% to 51.7%, most frequently with surgical site infections (1–84.3%), urinary tract infections (0.58–70.5%), bloodstream infections (0.1–46.6%) and respiratory tract infections (0.5–45.1%). Instead, in the pediatric population the HAIs prevalence varied from 2.45% to 6.9%, with a higher burden in the first year of life and a higher frequency of bloodstream infections (3.1–44.6%). The most isolated pathogens were Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and Candida spp. The associated risk factors, in addition to advanced age and patients’ clinical conditions, were the invasive devices use and prolonged hospital stays.

The current epidemiological situation imposes the necessity for constant HAIs control. In order to increase efficiency of prevention and control measures, there is a need for the careful design of interventional studies to figure out the most efficient single or bundle of preventive measures. In addition, it is necessary to implement the surveillance systems and to encourage greater safety training for patients, visitors and healthcare professionals.

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