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As a part of the national strategy on the prevention of healthcare-associated infections (HAI), a point prevalence survey (PPS) was conducted in acute care hospitals in Switzerland.


Our objective was to assess the burden of HAI in Swiss acute care hospitals.


All acute care hospitals were invited to participate in this cross-sectional survey during the second quarter of 2017. The protocol by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control was applied. Patients of all ages, hospitalised on the day of survey were included, except when admitted to outpatient clinics, emergency and psychiatry.


Ninety-six acute care hospitals (79% of all hospitals ≥ 100 beds) provided data on 12,931 patients. Pooled and randomised HAI prevalences were 5.9% (95% confidence interval (CI): 5.5–6.3) and 5.4% (95% CI: 4.8–6.0), respectively. The HAI incidence was estimated at 4.5 (95% CI: 4.0–5.0). The most common type of HAI was surgical site infection (29.0%), followed by lower respiratory tract (18.2%), urinary tract (14.9%) and bloodstream (12.8%) infections. The highest prevalence was identified in intensive care (20.6%), in large hospitals > 650 beds (7.8%), among elderly patients (7.4%), male patients (7.2%) and patients with an ultimately (9.3%) or rapidly (10.6%) fatal McCabe score.


This is the first national PPS of Switzerland allowing direct comparison with other European countries. The HAI prevalence was at European Union average (5.9% in 2016 and 2017), but higher than in some countries neighbouring Switzerland. Based on the limited information from previous surveys, HAI appear not to decrease.


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