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Longer Hospital Stays increase Risk of Infection

Update Date: Sep 08, 2014 01:54 PM EDT

Hospitals can increase a patient's risk of getting an infection, especially if the stay is prolonged, a new study reported. According to researchers, the risk of contracting an infection from drug-resistant bacteria increases every single day.

For this study, the researchers examined 949 cases of infection caused by Gram-negative bacteria, which are resistant to drugs. The cases occurred from 1998 through to 2011. Gram-negative bacteria can cause infections, such as pneumonia and meningitis. This type of bacteria can also lead to bloodstream and surgical site infections. Since they are resistant to some drugs and are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics, treating these infections can difficult.

Overall, roughly 20 percent of the cases that occurred within the first few days after being admitted in the hospital were caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria. After days four and five, the rate of drug-resistant infections increased significantly. By day 10, the proportion of infections that were caused by drug-resistant strains increased to 35 percent. The researchers calculated that for each day a patient has to stay in the hospital, the patient's risk of getting a drug-resistant bacterial infection increases by one percent.

"Our findings emphasize one of the risks of being in the hospital, acquiring a multi drug-resistant infection," Professor John Bosso, from the Medical University of South Carolina, said reported by Yahoo News UK & Ireland. "At the very least, this observation argues against both unnecessary hospitalization and unnecessarily long hospitalization."

The U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that at least two million people get infected from antibiotic-resistant bacteria. About 23,000 of these cases result in death.

The study, with the presentation title: "Relationship Between Days in Hospital and Infection with a Multidrug Resistant Gram-negative Pathogen," was presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimirobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

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