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European Antibiotic Awareness Day: More than a quarter of patients in Austrian hospitals are receiving antibiotics

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(Vienna, 16 November 2016) At least one in four patients admitted to Austrian hospitals is given antibiotics. That is the central finding of the national point prevalence study, which was conducted in June 2015 with significant assistance from the Medical University of Vienna's Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control. The results have now been announced to coincide with European Antibiotic Awareness Day on 17 November 2016.

Elisabeth Presterl, Head of MedUni Vienna's Department of Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control summarises the detailed results as follows: "On the day of the survey, 26.1% of patients were being treated with antibiotics. However, of these, only 17.1% were being given antibiotics to treat an infection, 5.3% were being given antibiotics by way of perioperative prophylaxis. The very high percentage of prophylactic use beyond the day of the operation (53.3%) is striking. The most common reasons for treatment were respiratory tract infections (25.5%), skin, soft tissue and bone infections (19.7%) and urinary tract infections (18.6%). However, in the case of a relatively large percentage of antibiotic treatments, namely 27%, the patient records did not specify why antibiotics were being given."

The most commonly used classes of antibiotics

The highest antibiotic use was in intensive care units (61.1%). The commonest route for antibiotic administration was the parenteral route (74.9%). Presterl: "This analysis confirms that a high proportion of prophylaxis is given beyond the day of the operation. If we were to refrain from this non-evidence-based usage, we could significantly reduce our antibiotic use in Austria. In order to achieve this, it is urgently recommended that we optimise the recording of indications in patient records. Likewise it is recommended that we quickly change over to oral antibiotic administration."


Event: Once again this year, to coincide with European Antibiotic Awareness Day, the 9th European Antibiotic Awareness Day symposium is being held on 17 November 2016, with participation from MedUni Vienna.