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Antibiotic resistance and nosocomial infections have recently been recognised as a growing threat in Latvian hospitals. We used a modified point prevalence study design to gain accurate information on the antibiotic prescription pattern and the prevalence of nosocomial infections in different hospital departments. A given department was observed on a given day in a given month (May) five years in a row. All antibiotic treatments, dose and route of administration were recorded, in addition to demographic data. The most commonly used antibiotic groups were first generation cephalosporins (35.6-38.9%), broad-spectrum penicillins (17.5-23.0%), fluoroquinolones (8.4-14.5%) and aminoglycosides (7.7-12.6%). Cefazolin was the most commonly used antibiotic. Antibiotics were predominantly used intravenously. The proportion of oral administration varied from 15.1% to 21.8%. A large proportion (13.3%) of the antibiotics was administered without clear reason. The crude prevalence rate of infection treated with antibiotics was 19.3%. The average prevalence of nosocomial infections was found to be 3.6%. These prevalence studies provided an opportunity to compare hospitals and outline variations and problem areas. They indicated the main problems in antibiotic prescription: large interhospital variations in the choice of an antibiotic for the most common infections, frequent antibiotic use without clear reason, and predominant intravenous administration.


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