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J Prev Med Hyg. 2010 Jun;51(2):80-6.

Hospital-acquired infections and leading pathogens detected in a regional university adult acute-care hospital in Genoa, Liguria, Italy: results from a prevalence study.

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Department of Health Sciences, Section of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, University of Genoa and San Martino University Hospital of Genoa, Italy.



A prevalence study aimed to update the epidemiological scenario of Hospital-Acquired Infections (HAI) was performed at the San Martino University Hospital of Genoa, the Regional Reference Adult-care Center in Liguria, Italy, with more than 1300 beds.


The investigation was performed in all the wards, except the Psychiatric Units, between 19th March and 6Ih April, 2007, using a one-day monitoring system for each ward. International standardized criteria and definitions for the surveillance of HAI were used for the collection of data, which were recorded in specific software for subsequent consolidation, analysis and quality control.


The hospital infection control staff actively monitored 912 inpatients: a total of 84 HAI among 72 patients were diagnosed, with an overall prevalence of infections and affected cases of 9.2% (95% CI: 7.3-11.1) and 7.9% (95% CI: 6.1-9.7), respectively. Urinary Tract Infections (UTI) (30.9%), Respiratory Tract Infections (RTI) (28.6%) and Blood Stream Infections (BSI) (21.4%) were found to be the most frequent infections. As expected, both specific prevalence and localization of HAI varied considerably between wards, with the highest values recorded in Intensive Care Units (ICU) and in Functional Rehabilitation wards. RTI (26.3%) and BSI (13.2%) were found primarily represented in ICU, while the highest values of UTI (13.3%) were registered in Functional Rehabilitation Units. Enterococcus spp. (16.8%), Candida spp. (14%), Pseudomonas spp. (12.2), Staphylococcus aureus (10.7%), Escherichia coli (10.3%) and Coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) (9.3%) were the most frequent pathogens isolated. The overall rate of administration of antibiotics was 55.3% and penicillin (26.7%), cephalosporins (22.8%) and fluoroquinolones (17.9%) were found to be the leading antibacterial administered.


Results of the present study have been, and are currently, used for orientating surveillance and control hospital policies, planning activities according to a rational and evidence-based approach.

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