STUDY: Most infections acquired during hospital stays originate within the healthcare facility

STUDY: Most infections acquired during hospital stays originate within the healthcare facility

Recent research from the University of Washington School of Medicine challenges the belief that infections acquired during hospital stays originate within the healthcare facility.

The study suggests that the bacteria responsible for infections are often already present in patients’ bodies before they undergo surgery. Researchers aimed to understand why surgical site infections, which affect approximately one in every 30 operations, haven’t substantially decreased despite strict adherence to infection-prevention protocols like environmental sanitation and sterile processing.

The team analysed 210 patients who were having spinal surgery, collecting samples from their noses, stool, and skin swabs from the incision area on the day of the surgery. They continued to monitor the patients post-operation.

Findings revealed that 86% of the post-surgery infection-causing bacteria genetically matched those found in the patients prior to surgery. Further analysis of 59 additional surgical site infections showed that none were caused by bacteria commonly shared within the hospital.

The researchers concluded that spinal surgical site infections (SSIs) in their study were not linked to bacteria from common sources within the hospital at any significant rate, as published in Science Translational Medicine.

The implications of these findings suggest a need for novel strategies in preventing surgical site infections, potentially leading to more personalised and patient-focused prevention techniques.

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