As hygiene specialist Professor Petra Gastmeier, at the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine in Charité University Medical Centre Berlin, pointed out: ‘Compared to other EU countries, the prevalence of nosocomial infections in Germany is relatively low.’ However, the expert concedes that Germany has a comparatively large number of hospital beds and hospital stays, so the disease burden is very high by EU comparison. Clearly speaking: The risk of contracting an infection increases with every visit to a German hospital.
Based on current figures (Behnke et al.: Prevalence of nosocomial infections and the use of antibiotics in German hospitals), Gastmeier deems the development in Germany as positive: The number of hospital hygiene specialists has increased and so has the use of hand disinfection agents.
Today’s dilemma for hospitals and institutions are increasingly multi-resistant bacteria and decreasingly effective antibiotics to beat them. New substances to fight pathogens are not on the horizon. What can be done? Professor Constanze Wendt, microbiology and infection biology specialist at MVZ Labor Dr. Limbach & Kollegen GbR, in Heidelberg, Germany, describes current anti-infection…
The figures Gastmeier presents still seem high: An annual 15,000 patients in Germany die from nosocomial infections, with 2,300 of these infections caused by resistant pathogens - a partially preventable cause, she believes. An important aspect arising from the study, carried out by Behnke et al, is the limit of the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics and a general awareness of resistance through antibiotic stewardship programmes.
How the fight against multi-resistant pathogens will progress still appears unclear, as the development of resistance has also been observed with the use of new, innovative antibiotics. Gastmeier is therefore advocating a more considerate, sensible use of antibiotics and emphasises that 30% of all prescriptions could be avoided.