Annual reports on the epidemiology of HAIs

Since 2020, Swissnoso has provided an overview of the epidemiological situation regarding healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in Switzerland, based on data collected by existing surveillance systems and on the experience of hospitals.

According to regularly conducted surveys, the prevalence of HAIs in Swiss acute care hospitals is between 5.4% and 5.9%, which corresponds to the European average. These data were confirmed by the results of the second national point prevalence survey in 2022: of the almost 14,000 patients surveyed, 5.9% had had a healthcare-associated infection. These surveys have also shown that the proportion of healthcare-associated infections caused by multi-drug resistant organisms (MDROs) is lower in Switzerland than in neighbouring countries.

Significant long-term reduction in infection rates

In addition to the data collected by Swissnoso since 2017 and the publicly available data, an important source of information is the continuous monitoring of surgical site infections (SSIs). This monitoring, conducted on selected surgical procedures by 165 hospitals between October 2019 and September 2020, shows a significant long-term reduction in infection rates. Rates have declined compared to the previous periods in 2018 and 2019, which can be attributed in part to the break in monitoring between March and May 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the pandemic had an impact on elective surgical procedures, which had to be temporarily postponed in some institutions. Even though this rate appears to be higher than in other countries, the comparison should be treated with caution because of differences in methodology and uncertainties about the validity of the data collected internationally.

Overview of HAI control and prevention activities

These reports are written by Swissnoso as part of its consultancy mandate with the FOPH. They provide information on all activities and measures taken by Swissnoso to combat and prevent HAIs as part of the NOSO strategy. For example, they provide an overview of the further development of the national monitoring system. They also describe pilot studies investigating the parameters that could lead to a potential reduction in healthcare-associated infections. The second report also – for the first time – includes data on the transmission of COVID-19 in hospitals and care homes.

Last modification 22.05.2023

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Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Division of Communicable Diseases
Infection Control and Vaccination Programme Section
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