Overall burden of bloodstream infection and nosocomial bloodstream infection in North America and Europe

Clin Microbiol Infect. 2013 Jun;19(6):501-9. doi: 10.1111/1469-0691.12195. Epub 2013 Mar 8.


In this systematic review, we estimated the total number of episodes of bloodstream infection (BSI) and deaths from BSI per year in North America and Europe, using data from population-based settings. Then, we estimated the number of episodes and deaths from nosocomial BSI from population-based studies and nosocomial infection surveillance systems. We estimated 575 000-677 000 episodes of BSI per year in North America (536 000-628 000 in the USA and 40 000-49 000 in Canada) and 79 000-94 000 deaths (72 000-85 000 in the USA and 7000-9000 in Canada), using estimates from three population-based studies. We estimated over 1 200 000 episodes of BSI and 157 000 deaths per year in Europe, using estimates from one population-based study in each of the following countries: Denmark (9100 episodes and 1900 deaths), Finland (8700 episodes and 1100 deaths) and England (96 000 episodes and 12 000-19 000 deaths). There were substantial differences in estimates of nosocomial BSI between population-based and nosocomial infection surveillance data. BSI has a major impact on the morbidity and mortality of the general population, as it ranks among the top seven causes of death in all included countries in North America and Europe. However, it is difficult to obtain precise estimates of nosocomial BSI, owing to the limited number of studies. This review highlights the need for a greater focus on BSI research in order to reduce the overall burden of disease by improving the outcome of patients with BSI. It also emphasizes the role of infection control and prevention methods in reducing the burden of nosocomial BSI.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteremia / epidemiology*
  • Bacteremia / microbiology
  • Cross Infection*
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • North America / epidemiology
  • Population Surveillance