Nosocomial Infections Put Infants, Elderly at Risk

Nosocomial Infections  Put Infants, Elderly at RiskNosocomial Infections  Put Infants, Elderly at Risk

The rate of hospital-acquired infections has increased in recent years, says Mohammad Mahdi Feizabadi, head of Iran Microbiology Association.

“With the growing rate of bacterial resistance, access to stronger antimicrobial medications is necessary as the current antibiotics are not capable of destroying resistant bacteria. Infants and elderly people in particular are at higher risk of death due to “simple” bacterial infections and non-resistant antibiotics.

He pointed to the deaths of nine babies in Imam Khomeini Hospital at the beginning of the year (started March 21) that occurred due to hospital infection and said, “Nosocomial (of a disease originating in hospital) infections rate is quite high in the country, but official statistics are not clear. In September 2013 the Health Ministry said 10% to 15% of patients are affected by hospital infections,” Fararu website reported.

In other words, annually 600,000 people are affected by hospital-associated infections. Healthcare-related infection is more common in Intensive Care Units (ICU) and hospital wards of women and children, he added.

“Nosocomial infection is not a problem just in Iran. Hospital infections occur even in developed countries which have tight health regimes,” he noted.

Hospital infections are caused by pathogens that easily spread through the body. Many hospital patients have compromised immune systems, so they are less able to fight off infections. In some cases, patients develop infections due to unhygienic conditions at a hospital or a healthcare facility, or due to hospital staff not following proper procedures.

Some patients acquire nosocomial infections by interacting with other patients. Others encounter bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses in a hospital environment. The infections can lead to severe pneumonia and infections of the urinary tract, bloodstream and other parts of the body.

 Major Health Issue

In both the hospital and the community, antibiotic resistance has emerged as a major public health problem globally. In fact, some scientists consider it the most important public health issue of the 21st century. The problem exists not just because bacterial mutation rates lead to a rapid accumulation of mutations (including drug-resistant mutations), but “also because of the selective pressures that antibiotics impose,” reports

The emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance has become such an important public health problem that health agencies the world over now distribute educational posters to encourage “good hygiene” practices—practices that prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from one person to another and help keep mutant bacteria off doorknobs, computer keyboards, railings and so on.

Posters in a school hallway, a locker room, or in a public bathroom to encourage simple hygiene observations like washing hands with soap and water, can improve hygiene and help prevent diseases.