Hospital bacteria claims 2,600 lives in Belgium annually

4th February 2009, Comments 0 comments

Patients with infections in the lungs, blood stream or urinary tract are especially vulnerable to hospital-acquired infection.

Every year some 2,600 people die prematurely as a consequence of hospital bacteria.

The figures come from the Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre. Patients with infections in the lungs, blood stream or urinary tract are especially vulnerable to hospital-acquired infection.

Hospital-acquired infection, otherwise known as 'hospital bacteria', is an infection which occurs during a hospital stay and is not present when the patient is admitted to hospital.

Hospital bacteria are the most prevalent complication during hospitalisation. Six percent of all patients are infected.

Hospital-acquired infections are the most common type of complication affecting hospitalised patents.

The infections affect primarily the urinary tract, the lower respiratory tract, surgical site, bloodstream and the gastrointestinal tract.

They increase patient morbidity and mortality, prolong the length of hospital stay and generate substantial costs.

All hospitals in Belgium have an infection control unit headed by a hygienist. These teams promote good practices that reduce hospital infections. The annual healthcare budget for these teams in Belgium amounts to €16 million.

The Belgian Health Care Knowledge Centre recommends that more attention be paid to the hospital wards where patients are most likely to contract hospital infection. These include surgical, geriatric and rehabilitation units. Surveillance of respiratory, bloodstream and urinary tract infections should be increased and should be made a top priority among preventative actions.

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