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Original article

Vol. 148 No. 1718 (2018)

Point prevalence of healthcare-associated infections and antibiotic use in three large Swiss acute-care hospitals

  • Aliki Metsini
  • Miriam Vazquez
  • Rami Sommerstein
  • Jonas Marschall
  • Cathy Voide
  • Nicolas Troillet
  • Céline Gardiol
  • Didier Pittet
  • Walter Zingg
  • the Swissnoso network
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2018;148:w14617



The overall burden of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) remains high, even in high-income countries. However, the current burden of HAI in Switzerland is unknown. Prevalence surveys have a long tradition in the field of infection prevention and control for measuring both HAI and antimicrobial use. The objective of this survey was to test the point prevalence survey (PPS) methodology of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) in acute-care hospitals in Switzerland.


Two tertiary care hospitals and one secondary care hospital in central and western Switzerland participated in the survey. Patients from all wards except for emergency departments and psychiatric wards were included. Data were collected on a single day for every ward with a maximum time frame of 2 weeks for completing data collection. Methodology and definitions were based on the most recent ECDC PPS protocol.


Data on a total of 2421 patients were analysed. One hundred thirty-six patients had 153 HAIs, corresponding to a prevalence of 5.6% (95% confidence interval [CI] 4.7–6.5%). Rapidly fatal McCabe score, hospitalisation in the intensive care unit (ICU), and having a medical device in place were independent risk factors for HAI. Lower respiratory tract infection was the most frequent HAI type (24.8%), followed by surgical site infection (22.2%), bloodstream infection (17.0%) and urinary tract infection (13.7%). The highest HAI prevalence (26.2%) was observed in the ICU. In total, 60.8% of all HAIs were microbiologically confirmed. The most common microorganism was Escherichia coli (21.1%). Six hundred sixty-nine patients (27.6%, 95% CI 25.9–29.4%) received 893 antimicrobials for 705 indications. Community-acquired infections (39.0%) were the most common indication for antimicrobial use and amoxicillin-clavulanate was the most commonly prescribed antimicrobial (18.4%).


HAI prevalence and antimicrobial use in this survey were similar to findings of the past ECDC PPS. The ECDC methodology proved applicable to Swiss acute-care hospitals.


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