Nosocomial diseases affect one hospitalized patient in eighteen

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By John

What is the risk of catching a disease in the hospital? In May-June 2022, one hospitalized patient in eighteen had at least one nosocomial infection, i.e. contracted during a stay in a health establishment, whether directly related to care or occurring only during hospitalization. This is the result of a survey carried out every five years by Public Health France (SPF) as part of the Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Network (Repias), and made public on Friday May 26.

More worryingly, the proportion of patients affected by these diseases in the hospital is up compared to 2017 (+14.7%), with a prevalence of infected patients of 5.71%. In question, not surprisingly, the virus responsible for Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, which represents half of this increase. If we exclude cases of Covid-19 caught during hospitalization, the increase is indeed just under 5%, a variation that the authors of the report consider to be insignificant.

The fact remains that the proportion of nosocomial infections has stagnated more or less since 2012, whereas previous surveys had shown a steady decline between 2001 and 2012 (−11% from 2001 to 2006 and −11% from 2006 to 2012). Trends to be interpreted with caution.

Regional disparities

“Today, there are more and more patients treated on an outpatient basis and the patients who are hospitalized are those who have more risk factors; moreover, during the Covid period, patients cared for in healthcare establishments were probably more fragile than in 2017”explains Anne Berger-Carbonne, head of the healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic resistance unit at SPF. “The survey also shows that patients had more invasive devices and presented with debilitating pathologies, which may explain this development. Given the hospital context, we could even have expected a sharper increase in the figures.concludes the doctor.

Some regions are more affected than others. In mainland France, Corsica (8%) and the Grand Est (6%) had the highest prevalence of infected people, while Centre-Val de Loire and Brittany were at the bottom of the pack (respectively 4.60 % and 4.25%). Once the cases of Covid-19 are excluded, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (+38%) and Bourgogne-Franche-Comté (+33%) however showed the largest increases.