Hospital-acquired bacterial infections in coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in Israel

Mitchell J. Schwaber*, Elizabeth Temkin, Rona Lobl, Vered Schechner, Amir Nutman, Yehuda Carmeli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: We sought to determine incidence of common hospital-acquired bacteria among coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients in Israeli general hospitals during the first year of the pandemic. Methods: We analyzed routinely collected incidence data to determine hospital acquisition of the following sentinel bacteria: Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Acinetobacter baumannii, and Clostridioides difficile. We examined 3 acquisition measures: (1) sentinel bacteria, (2) sentinel bacteremia, and (3) antimicrobial-resistant sentinel bacteremia. The study period was March 1, 2020, through January 31, 2021. Results: Analysis of pooled data from the 26 hospitals surveyed revealed that rates were higher for all 3 acquisition measures among COVID-19 patients than they were among patients on general medical wards in 2019, but lower than those among patients in intensive care units in 2019. The incidence rate was highest during the first COVID-19 wave, despite a lower proportion of severe COVID-19 cases among total hospitalized during this wave. Wide variation in incidence was evident between hospitals. Conclusions: Hospitalized COVID-19 patients experienced nosocomial bacterial infection at rates higher than those of patients on pre-pandemic general medical wards, adding to the complexity of their care. Lower rates of nosocomial infection after the first wave, despite higher proportions of severely ill patients, suggest that healthcare worker practices, rather than patient-related factors, were responsible for most of these infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1437-1442
Number of pages6
JournalInfection Control and Hospital Epidemiology
Issue number9
StatePublished - 23 Sep 2023


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