Infection less likely in Irish hospitals
Patients in Irish hospitals are less likely to contract infections than those in other EU states, according to new research.
An investigation into Irish hospital infections and antimicrobial usage revealed about one in 20 patients (5.2 per cent) from a sample of over 9,000 got an infection while in hospital, while 34 per cent were on antibiotics. Fifty acute Irish hospitals (42 public and eight private) participated in the voluntary survey which found that infections are most likely to affect patients in tertiary hospitals (7.5 per cent) and least likely to affect those in private hospitals (2.5 per cent).
According to a similar report published in the North, the average prevalence of hospital infections among EU states is 6.2 per cent, while the average rate of antimicrobial usage is 36.3 per cent.
Consultant clinical microbiologist Dr Robert Cunney said although it was “positive to see that we appear to be well below the European average”, we still need to reduce the use of antibiotics.
He noted the strong correlation between hospital infections and the inappropriate use of antibiotics. “The general acceptance, not just in Ireland, is that a lot of antibiotic use . . . is unnecessary or inappropriate in one way or another. If you reduce inappropriate antibiotic use then you reduce the level of HAIs [hospital-acquired infections] .”
It also found patients who acquired infections were more likely to have risk factors. “Well-known risk factors for developing HAI can include having had an operation, having a drip or a bladder catheter, being in an intensive care unit, being older or very young in age and receiving antibiotics.”