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The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in adaptation in infection control measures, increased patient transfer, high occupancy of intensive cares, downscaling of non-urgent medical procedures and decreased travelling.


To gain insight in the influence of these changes on antimicrobial resistance (AMR) prevalence in the Netherlands, a country with a low AMR prevalence, we estimated changes in demographics and prevalence of six highly resistant microorganisms (HRMO) in hospitalised patients in the Netherlands during COVID-19 waves (March–June 2020, October 2020–June 2021, October 2021–May 2022 and June–August 2022) and interwaves (July–September 2020 and July–September 2021) compared with pre-COVID-19 (March 2019–February 2020).


We investigated data on routine bacteriology cultures of hospitalised patients, obtained from 37 clinical microbiological laboratories participating in the national AMR surveillance. Demographic characteristics and HRMO prevalence were calculated as proportions and rates per 10,000 hospital admissions.


Although no significant persistent changes in HRMO prevalence were detected, some relevant non-significant patterns were recognised in intensive care units. Compared with pre-COVID-19 we found a tendency towards higher prevalence of meticillin-resistant during waves and lower prevalence of multidrug-resistant during interwaves. Additionally, during the first three waves, we observed significantly higher proportions and rates of cultures with (pooled 10% vs 6% and 240 vs 120 per 10,000 admissions) and coagulase-negative Staphylococci (pooled 21% vs 14% and 500 vs 252 per 10,000 admissions) compared with pre-COVID-19.


We observed no substantial changes in HRMO prevalence in hospitalised patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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