Healthcare-associated infections

Each year, 7 to 8% of hospitalized patients are diagnosed with a healthcare-associated (or nosocomial) infection. With preventive measures a significant proportion of these illnesses could be avoided.

Healthcare-associated (or nosocomial) infections may occur during a stay in a healthcare facility. It has been estimated that such infections  lead to approximately 70’000 illnesses and 2000 deaths per year in Switzerland. These infections do not only signify unnecessary suffering for the patients. Because of prolonged hospital stays and long-term sequelae as well as additional treatment costs and work related absence these infections also are a burden to the healthcare system and the economy.

Which infections are meant?

Healthcare-associated infections can affect any organ system, however, the following four types of infection comprise approximately 90% of all cases:

  • Postoperative wound infections
  • Pneumonias and lower airway infections
  • Urinary tract infections, frequently associated with bladder catheters
  • So called bacteremias – detection of bacteria in blood or “blood poisoning”,  usually associated with venous catheters

Why do these infections occur?

Various factors contribute to the development of healthcare-associated infections. Aside from the severity of the underlying illness and a stay in a healthcare facilty, risk factors include invasive measures such as the insertion of urinary catheters, infusions, mechanical ventilation, and surgeries. 

Can these infections be prevented?

Several scientific studies show that - depending on the location - up to 50% of cases of healthcare-associated infections can be prevented with targeted prevention measures.

What does Swissnoso do?

As the national center for infection prevention and an expert association for the reduction of healthcare-associated infections, Swissnoso offers a variety of modules to hospitals. The goal of the modules is to prevent nosocomial infections. Moreover, Swissnoso creates and publishes guidelines and articles, which represent the current state of knowledge in a conclusive and accurate fashion and serve as support for Swiss Hospitals.

Results CH-PPS-HAI 2022

International societies on the topic of healthcare-associated infections

Robert Koch Institut RKI

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control ECDC

Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America SHEA