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One in 20 patients has hospital acquired infection

5.2 per cent of patients get infection within two days of admission, after a medical device was inserted or after surgery.

Image: Rui Vieira/PA Archive/Press Association Images

ONE IN TWENTY patients in Irish hospitals has acquired an infection during their stay, according to a survey conducted by the Health Service Executive.
5.2 per cent of 9,030 patients in 50 Irish hospitals developed an infection more than two days after they were admitted to a hospital, after a medical device was inserted or within a defined time limit after an operation. A similar survey from Britain found that the prevalence of healthcare-associated infections was 6.4 per cent in England.

“The survey found that the patients who had a HAI (hospital acquired infection) were more likely to have some of the common ‘risk factors’ for developing a HAI, when compared with patients who did not have a HAI” said Dr Robert Cunney, a consultant microbiologist with the Health Protection Surveillance Centre.

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.

The prevalence was highest in adult and pediatric intensive care units, high dependency units and surgical wards.

The most common types of infections were surgical site infections (would infections) pneumonia, urinary tract infections, bloodstream infections and gastrointestinal infections.

The survey also found that antibiotic prescribing in Irish hospitals was high, with one-in-three patients admitted to Irish hospitals in May 2012 given an antibiotic.

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