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Public health study Almost 6% of patients pick up infection in hospital

A nurse disinfecting her hands

The study found that infections occur more frequently in larger hospitals than in smaller and medium-sized ones.

(Keystone)

Some 5.9% of patients treated in Swiss hospitals fall ill with an infection, a study across 96 hospitals has shown. With this rate of infection, Switzerland falls within the European average.  

The study, which was led by expert group Swissnosoexternal link with the support of the Federal Office of Public Healthexternal link (FOPH), was released on Monday. It found that infections occur more frequently in larger hospitals than in smaller and medium-sized ones. The reasons cited for this are that bigger public health institutions often treat more severely ill patients and carried out riskier procedures.

The findings are almost identical to the most recent European measurements, dating back to 2011/2012, which found the infection rate to be 6%.

The most common infections were surgical site infections (29%), followed by lower respiratory tract infections (18%). Other frequent infections included those of the urinary tract (15%) and bloodstream (13%). Older patients and those treated in intensive-care units were most likely to suffer from infections.

According to the FOPH, 96 Swiss hospitals took part in the study, among them more than half of all Swiss acute hospitals. They collected data on 13’000 patients on a single day between June and August 2017.

The results of the study reflect the current situation around hospital infections and the use of antimicrobial agents on a national level. According to its authors, the data will allow hospitals to analyse their own results and to take action where necessary.

The FOPH said that it would like to collaborate with Swiss cantons, hospitals and nursing homes to improve hygiene standards across the county, strengthen preventative measures and invest into education and research.

SDA-ATS/ln

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