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Infectious Disease

Hospital Stays Pose a Greater Health Risk than Flying

8 years, 6 months ago

2295  0
Posted on Aug 04, 2011, 6 a.m.

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that medical errors and hospital-acquired infections injure more people each year than airplane travel.

As compared to the risk of dying in a plane crash – at approximately 1 in 10 million passengers, the World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the chances of dying from a medical error in a hospital anywhere in the world is about 1 in 300.  WHO notes that medical error and infection rates run as high as 16% of all hospitalized patients worldwide, reporting that many of these infections could be prevented if more healthcare workers cleaned their hands with soap and water, or used an alcohol-based hand rub more often before touching and treating each patient.  Finding that the problem with hospital-acquired infections spans every level of economic development, with even the most sophisticated hospitals battling infections that are similar to those in less-developed areas of the world, WHO reports that of every 100 patients hospitalized at any given time, seven in a developed country will acquire at least one health care-associated infection, while 10 to 15 will do so in developing countries.  Stating that: “The burden of health-care-associated infection in developing countries is high,” the authors urge that: “Our findings indicate a need to improve surveillance and infection-control practices.”

Benedetta Allegranzi, Sepideh Bagheri Nejad, Christophe Combescure, Wilco Graafmans, Homa Attar, Liam Donaldson, Didier Pittet. “Burden of endemic health-care-associated infection in developing countries: systematic review and meta-analysis.” The Lancet, 15 January 2011, Volume 377, Issue 9761, Pages 228-241.

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