Staying in hospital can increase a patient’s chances of acquiring a multi-drug resistant infection by 1% a day, research has shown.
Scientists in South Carolina, US, examined data from 949 recorded cases of gram-negative bacterial infection at their medical centre.
Around a fifth of infections during the first few days in hospital were caused by multi drug-resistant strains.
After four or five days there was a dramatic jump in the proportion of infections that were drug resistant, peaking at more than 35% at 10 days.
“At the very least, this observation argues against both unnecessary hospitalisation and unnecessarily long hospitalisation”
Professor John Bosso
Statistical analysis suggested that for patients who become infected, the chances of the infection being multi drug-resistant increases by 1% with every extra day in hospital.
Professor John Bosso, from the Medical University of South Carolina, said: “Our findings emphasise one of the risks of being in the hospital, acquiring a multi drug-resistant infection.
“At the very least, this observation argues against both unnecessary hospitalisation and unnecessarily long hospitalisation.”
The findings were presented at an infection disease meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in Washington DC.
Gram-negative bacteria have cells with a tough outer wall that makes them hard to kill. They include bugs that cause one form of meningitis, Legionnaire’s disease, pneumonia, and salmonella food poisoning.
Research suggests that gram-negative bacteria cause two thirds of the estimated 25,000 hospital infection deaths that occur in Europe each year.