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What’s New in the Patient Safety World

August 2022

Resistant Infections Up During COVID-19 Pandemic



The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on hospital infections. In our October 2021 What's New in the Patient Safety World column “HAI’s Increase During COVID-19 Pandemic” we noted that during the pandemic there were significant national increases in CLABSI’s (central line–associated bloodstream infections), CAUTI’s (catheter-associated urinary tract infections), VAE’s (ventilator-associated events), and MRSA infections.


In addition, there has been a substantial increase in antimicrobial resistance since the pandemic began. CDC (CDC 2022) reports that resistant hospital-onset infections and deaths both increased at least 15% from 2019 to 2020 among seven pathogens:


Antifungal-resistant threats rose in 2020, too, including Candida auris (60% increase) and other Candida species (26% increase) in infections in hospitals.


During the first year of the pandemic, more than 29,400 people died from antimicrobial-resistant infections commonly associated with healthcare. Of these, nearly 40% of the people got the infection while they were in the hospital.


CDC notes that hospitals treated sicker patients who required more frequent and longer use of medical devices like catheters and ventilators. Hospitals also experienced personal protective equipment supply challenges, staffing shortages, and longer patient visits.


CDC hopes that the trend is temporary but notes we must invest in the prevention-focused public health actions that we know work, such as accurate laboratory detection, rapid response and containment, effective infection prevention and control, and expansion of innovative strategies to combat antimicrobial resistance. Those strategies include alternatives to antibiotics and antifungals, new vaccines to combat infections that can develop antimicrobial resistance, and novel decolonizing agents to stop the spread of antimicrobial-resistant germs by people who may not know they are carriers.



Some of our prior columns on antibiotic stewardship:


See also our other columns related to COVID-19:







CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). COVID-19. U.S. Impact on Antimicrobial Resistance. 2022 Special Report. CDC 2022





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