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HAIs during the COVID-19 pandemic

October 08, 2020

In the thick of the COVID-19 pandemic it is important to remember that multi drug resistant organisms (MDRO’s) and antibiotic resistant organism infections are still occurring - something many in the field call a silent epidemic, now lurking in the shadow of COVID-19.

Last month, the Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria met virtually for their fall 2020 conference. Much of their time was spent discussing the relationship between MDROs and COVID-19:

Preliminary CDC analysis has revealed that patients with COVID-19 are more likely to contract healthcare-acquired infections (HAIs). Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is reported to be the most common MDRO infecting patients with COVID-19. It was also noted that Pseudomonas and Candida occur more frequently in COVID-19 positive patients than in negative. This rise in HAIs could be attributed to longer hospital stays. The average COVID-19 related hospital stay is 8.44 days, while the average stay for an influenza-like illnesses is 5.88 days.

The council also stated that antibiotics are often used for COVID-19 positive patients, and many of these medications already experiencing challenges with antibiotic resistance including macrolides, vancomycin and ceftriaxone. Kalvin Yu, MD, medical director at Becton Dickinson & Co. revealed that antibiotics were used in 68% of COVID patients, compared to 46% in non-COVID patients. Overuse of antibiotics and other antimicrobials promotes drug resistance by encouraging pathogens to mutate and subsequently enabling them to withstand the effects of drugs and disinfectants.

See a full review of the Fall 2020 Presidential Advisory Council on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria from Infection Control Today here.