Scientists are sounding the alarm over the rise in nosocomial infections by multidrug-resistant germs, a major public health problem that has been overshadowed by the pandemic over the last two years.
Not only has the initial estimate that taking strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus would help reduce nosocomial infections not been confirmed, but there are indications that the problem has worsened in the midst of the pandemic.
A case in point is the Laiko Hospital in Athens, where the administration of antibiotics to patients increased up to 40%, while there was an overall 50% increase in the positive blood cultures of germs that cause nosocomial infections.
In an interview with Kathimerini, Nikos Sypsas, a professor of pathological physiology and infectious diseases at the University of Athens, stressed that “nosocomial infections are a global problem.”
“It isn’t just Greece. Greece just has the sad privilege of being the champion in the frequency of these infections,” said Sypsas, who is also chairman of the Hospital Infections Committee at the Laiko Hospital.
Citing an epidemiological study conducted by the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) some five years ago, Sypsas said it showed that 6% of patients admitted to EU hospitals were infected by antibiotic-resistant germs. “In Greece this percentage was on average 9%, but there were many hospitals – and even large ones in Attica and Thessaloniki – where it reached 12%,” he said, adding that in the pre-Covid-19 era, an estimated 3,000 people died in Greece each year from nosocomial infections.
“So we had a bad situation, which seems to have gotten worse during the pandemic,” he stressed.