Point prevalence survey in hospitals

The initial findings of the point prevalence survey conducted by Swissnoso at Swiss hospitals with the support of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) in 2017 show that 5.9 per cent of patients in Switzerland have suffered a hospital infection. 

With 5.5 per cent the mean for the EU, this puts Switzerland around the European average. The data are now being evaluated in more depth to determine the mortality rate and the costs attributable to healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The results of these analyses will be available in the course of 2019.

13,000 patients in 96 hospitals

Prevalence surveys have a long tradition in hospital hygiene and HAI prevention. In 2017 Swissnoso, with the support of the FOPH, conducted the first nationwide point prevalence survey in Switzerland. The study had threefold aims: to assess the scale of HAIs and the use of antibiotics in Swiss acute care hospitals; to characterise patients, infections and the antibiotics used; to depict procedures for preventing HAIs and antibiotic resistance. The nationwide survey was conducted at 96 Swiss hospitals. Each participating hospital captured data on healthcare-associated infections on one day between April and June 2017, covering around 13,000 patients in total.

Next national survey in 2022

The point prevalence survey is to be repeated several times in the next few years in order to document developments in efforts to tackle avoidable infections in Swiss hospitals. This survey is also a surveillance measure that supports implementation of the minimum structural requirements in the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections, which were published in 2021. The next national survey, which was initially scheduled for 2020, was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Il will take place in 2022. Swissnoso is once again responsible for organising it. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is also conducting a PPS in 2022. It will therefore be possible to compare the data from Switzerland with data from other European countries.

Between these national surveys, Swissnoso is supplying hospitals that wish to conduct the survey annually – as was the case in 2018, 2019 and 2020 – with tools, such as access to the database, training documents and the survey protocol. 

Last modification 09.08.2022

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