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Tuesday 31 January 2023 Dublin: 9°C
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# Superbugs
Over 20,000 Irish people contracted an infection in Irish hospitals
Pneumonia and other respiratory infections accounted for 23 per cent of cases across Europe.

OVER THREE PER cent of Irish hospital patients caught an illness before being discharged.

The first-ever Europe-wide survey of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), carried out by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) showed that over 20,000 Irish people suffered from a bug caught in a hospital between 2011 and 2012.

The study, which was carried out in three periods between May 2011 and June 2012, showed that Irish hospitals had 638,452 patients discharged, 20,491 of whom had contracted an illness, adding up to 3.2 per cent of patients. That number brought Ireland in under the EU average if 5.4 per cent.

The report says that at least 20 per cent of these infections are preventable with better control programmes.

The most common illnesses found across Europe were respiratory tract infections, with pneumonia accounting for 19.4 per cent of cases and lower respiratory infections causing 4.1 per cent of sicknesses.  Surgical infections made up 19.6 per cent of HAIs, while urinary tract infections added 19 per cent.

The ECDC says that the continued implementation of a 2009 European Union plan for safety is needed to combat the spread of HAIs.

A spokesperson from patient advocacy group Patient Focus said that hospitals are not ‘perfect places’, but that hospitals should be vigilant.

“People now understand more about the spread of infections more and that is obviously helping.

It is up to the hospitals on an individual basis to make sure that the health guidelines are being adhered to. If a person gets sick and has to stay in hospital longer than first planned, that will impact on the hospital’s resources.

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