Sciensano coordinates the surveillance of bloodstream infections in Belgian hospitals. Thus, Sciensano can monitor and describe not only the number of hospital-associated bloodstream infections, but also the microorganisms that caused these bloodstream infections.
Since 2014, all acute hospitals and chronic care institutions with more than 150 beds have been legally obliged to participate in this surveillance for at least one quarter each year. This participation includes a standardized data record for each hospital-associated bloodstream infection (a bloodstream infection occurring two days or later after hospitalization) that takes place in the healthcare institution during the participation period.
On the basis of these figures, Sciensano can evaluate the trends of bloodstream infections per hospital and at national level. A significant proportion of these infections can be avoided with proper preventive efforts, but the causative microorganisms and their resistance profile can change rapidly. Thanks to monitoring, the preventive efforts can be adjusted as much as possible.
Describing and monitoring the number of hospital-associated bloodstream infections
On the basis of the data recorded by the hospitals, Sciensano can track how many hospital-associated bloodstream infections occur annually per hospital, per region and at national level. In addition, it can monitor the evolution of the number of infections: is this increasing, decreasing, or does it remain the same?
Sciensano also monitors the probable origin of these infections, such as a urinary tract or lung infection or a catheter in a blood vessel. Particular attention is paid to infections that were probably caused by an invasive device (such as a tube in the lung, or a catheter in the urinary tract or in a blood vessel), because these infections offer the most possibilities to prevent them. In 2016, 40% of all hospital-associated bloodstream infections were associated with the use of an invasive device.
These data allow Sciensano to get an idea of the severity of infection at public health level and to make recommendations to further reduce hospital-associated infections.
Describing and monitoring the microorganisms that caused these blood flow infections
For each bloodstream infection, the microorganism that caused the infection is recorded (e.g. bacterium, virus or parasite). In this way we find out which microorganisms most frequently cause hospital-associated bloodstream infections and how this evolves over time. For various microorganisms, Sciensano also monitors whether the usual treatment is still effective or not. In other words, whether there is antibiotic resistance in the latter case.
These data allow Sciensano to formulate recommendations for the treatment of hospital-associated infections.