The prevalence of hospital-acquired infections in a Danish county

Abstract number: 1134_04_236

Leth R.A., Møller J.K.


To estimate the prevalence of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) and the prescription of antibiotics at the hospitals in the County of Aarhus, and to compare the results with previous surveys.


Only patients from departments open seven days a week were included. The prevalence-survey took place in September 2003 and comprised 1510 patients. Teams consisting of a clinical microbiologist and an infection control nurse/worker visited the departments on a particular day. They registered for all patients hospital-acquired and community-acquired infections. Data on antibiotic treatment and microbiological findings were furthermore registered.


The overall prevalence of HAI in hospitals in Aarhus County was 10.0% and ranged for the various medical specialities from 7 to 28%. The relative distribution of the most frequent HAI was urinary tract infection (33%), postoperative wound infection (19%), pneumonia (12%), skin infection (10%), and blood-stream infection (9%). Blood-stream infection and pneumonia were more prevalent in ICU patients. A total of 456 patients (30.2%) received antibiotics at the prevalence-day. Antibiotics were given prophylactic in 64 (14%) of the patients receiving antibiotics. The relative distribution of prescriptions of the various groups of antimicrobial agents was penicillins (42%), cephalosporins (17%), metronidazoles (9%), quinolones (8%), aminoglycosides (8%), sulphonamides/trimethoprim (5%), antimycotics (4%), and glycopeptides (2%). Beta-lactam drugs accounted for more than half the prescriptions of antimicrobial prophylaxis.


The prevalence of HAI in 2003 was similar to that of a previous prevalence-survey in 1999. Fewer infections, however, were seen in intern medicine and more in abdominal surgery (almost a doubling of HAI) in 2003. Compared to a prevalence study in a single hospital in Aarhus County in 1994, the prevalence of antibiotic prescriptions in that hospital has increased. The relative use of the various groups of drugs in the hospital has also changed with a substantial increase in prescriptions of cephalosporins and quinolones and a decrease in use of sulphonamides and in antimicrobial prophylaxis in general.

Session Details

Date: 01/08/2007
Time: 00:00-00:00
Session name: XXIst ISTH Congress
Location: Oxford, UK
Presentation type:
Back to top