Healthcare-associated infections

Reducing the threat of healthcare-associated infections

Advances in healthcare have given rise to a new type of threat.

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the most frequent adverse event in healthcare.1 Prolonged hospital stays, long-term disability, resistance of microorganisms to antimicrobials, significant financial burdens, and death highlight the threat HAIs pose to patients, their families, and to health systems.1

As countries struggle to handle the complexity of HAIs without uniform criteria for diagnosis, these infections have risen sharply, having implications beyond patient health.1,2

  • 5-10% of hospitalizations in Europe and North America result in an HAI, costing Europe an estimated €7 billion annually in direct costs as well as 16 million extra days of hospital stay1,3
  • >40% of hospitalizations in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia result in an HAI, though the financial impact is poorly and variably reported3

While it may be impossible to eliminate HAIs entirely, healthcare facilities can significantly reduce the risk of contracting them.4 Prevention measures include the initiation of surveillance programs and more proactive infection control.

Understanding the role of diagnostics and surveillance

To help coordinate a global response, the World Health Organization (WHO) outlined simple precautions to increase preparedness for these medically-manifested infections.

At the national level, improving reporting and surveillance systems is key to gaining perspective on region-specific challenges. At institutional levels, meeting minimum requirements in terms of facilities and dedicated resources is essential, including sufficient microbiology laboratory capacity.4

Given the potential severity of infections caused by multi-drug resistant organisms (MDRO), labs must be able to respond quickly to assist physicians in guiding antibiotic therapy. However, doing so requires more streamlined workflows, highly sensitive and specific assays, and increased investment in emerging diagnostic technologies.

Advancing infection control

Nucleic acid amplification techniques, like polymerase chain reaction (PCR), have played a critical role in accurately screening for and diagnosing infections.

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Learn more about our solutions

NAT Cdiff test

In vitro diagnostic test for the direct detection of the toxin B (tcdB) gene of toxigenic Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) in unformed (liquid or soft) stool specimens.

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Fast phenotypic detection of MDROs

System supporting an automated workflow for the rapid detection, identification and/or determination of antimicrobial susceptibility of live bacteria in laboratories and healthcare settings.

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MRSA/SA test

For the direct detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Staphylococcus aureus (SA) DNA from nasal swabs to aid in the prevention and control of these infections in healthcare settings.

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Point-of-care NAT Cdiff test

Point-of-care in vitro diagnostic test for the direct detection of the toxin B (tcdB) gene of toxigenic Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) in unformed (liquid or soft) stool specimens.

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Fast phenotypic detection of MRSA colonization

Live-cell molecular test for the direct detection of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus irrespective of the mechanism of resistance, in patients at risk of infection in healthcare settings.

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Procalcitonin (PCT) test

A sensitive and specific biomarker of the inflammatory response to bacterial infection that aids clinicians in determining a patient’s risk of progression to sepsis and septic shock.

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  1. World Health Organization. The burden of health care-associated infection worldwide. Accessed October 22, 2020.
  2. Haque M, Sartelli M, McKimm J, Abu Bakar M. Health care-associated infections - an overview. Infect Drug Resist. 2018;11:2321-2333.
  3. World Health Organization. Healthcare-associated infections fact sheet. Accessed October 22, 2020.
  4. Healthline. What Are Nosocomial Infections? Accessed October 22, 2020.