Service(s) working on this project
The monitoring of healthcare-associated infections (infections acquired during a stay in healthcare facility) is nowadays one of the priorities of our hospitals in order to ensure quality of care and safety of hospitalised patients. This is also a priority for Sciensano’s Healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial resistance service. In collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Sciensano organises point prevalence surveys (PPS) in our Belgian hospitals every 5 to 6 years. These surveys aim to measure the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections and the use of antimicrobials. This way, we can offer healthcare policy makers relevant and up-to-date information on both topics.
The increasing complexity of care in our hospitals significantly increases the risk of acquiring an infection during a hospital stay (healthcare-associated infection). In Belgium, an estimated 111,276 patients acquire a healthcare-associated infection each year, a number comparable to the population of the city of Namur.
Sciensano, in collaboration with the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), organises point prevalence surveys (PPS) every 5 to 6 years to measure the occurrence of healthcare-associated infections and the use of antimicrobial agents in our Belgian hospitals. In these studies we also collect data on patient characteristics as well as data on the characteristics of the antimicrobial prescription and the type of infection.
Sciensano already organised two voluntary studies in Belgian hospitals (2011 and 2017). In autumn 2022, Sciensano is planning a third point prevalence study. Hospitals will receive an invitation for participation from the Belgian Commission for the Coordination of Antibiotic Policy (BAPCOC).
With the same objectives, Sciensano is also conducting similar studies in long-term care facilities (mainly nursing homes).
A brief overview of the results of the point prevalence surveys in 2017 and 2011:
2017 point prevalence survey
A total of 47 Belgian hospital sites participated in the survey. Sciensano submitted data for 11,800 patients to ECDC.
- The prevalence of patients with at least one healthcare-associated infection in Belgium was 7.3%.
- The most frequently reported healthcare-associated infections (N=911) were pneumonia (21.6%), urinary tract infections (21.3%) and surgical site infections (16.9%).
- The prevalence of patients with at least one antimicrobial agent in Belgium was 28.1%.
- The top 3 of most used antimicrobial agents consisted of amoxicillin in combination with a beta-lactamase inhibitor (J01CR02, 19.7%), cefazolin (J01DB04, 9.7%) and piperacillin in combination with a beta-lactamase inhibitor (J01CR05, 7.7%).
- Microbiological results were available for 62.0% of the healthcare-associated infections. A total of 721 microorganisms were reported. The most commonly isolated microorganism was Escherichia coli (17.8%).
You can find all the results in the 2017 national report.
2011 point prevalence survey
In total, 70 hospital sites participated in the data collection. Sciensano transmitted data originating from 52 hospitals to ECDC to avoid overrepresentation of Belgium at European level. This selection included data from 13,758 patients.
- The prevalence of patients with at least one healthcare-associated infection in Belgium was 7.1%. At European level this was 5.7%.
- The prevalence of patients with at least one antimicrobial agent in Belgium was 28.9%. At European level this was 32.7%.
For more information on the European (including the Belgian) results, please check the website of the ECDC.