[Effectiveness of a hospital-wide educational programme for infection control to reduce the rate of health-care associated infections and related sepsis (ALERTS)--methods and interim results]

Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2013 Aug;138(34-35):1717-22. doi: 10.1055/s-0033-1349481. Epub 2013 Aug 9.
[Article in German]


Background and aim: Health care associated infections (HAIs) are one of the most frequent complications of hospital care, associated with increased morbidity, mortality and considerable extra costs for the health care system. The overarching objective of the ALERTS study is to demonstrate the feasibility of a hospitalwide programme to reduce the burden of HAIs and related sepsis of at least 20 %.

Methods: Prospective, quasi-experimental study covering all acute care units (27 general wards, 4 ICUs, overall 809 beds) at Jena University Hospital. Surveillance for HAIs is performed by computerized antibiotic monitoring in patients with risk factors for HAIs (i. e. intravenous and urinary catheters, surgery) on a daily basis. Following the first surveillance period a multifaceted, pragmatic infection control programme, aimed at proper hand hygiene and bundles for the prevention of the four most common HAIs will be implemented. Subsequently, a second surveillance period lasting 18 months will be conducted to measure the effect of the infection control programme, starting in May 2013.

Results: Interim results for the first surveillance period (09/2011 to 08/2012) are presented. During this period, 30,631 patients were admitted to the participating departments. According to CDC definitions we identified 1,637 HAIs, resulting in an overall incidence of 5.3 %. Based on clinical evaluation only, irrespective of the CDC definitions, an additional 944 HAIs were detected (overall HAI rate, 8.4 % [n =2581]). A substantial proportion of patients had HAI associated severe sepsis or septic shock (lower respiratory tract infection, n = 279 [37 %]; surgical site infection, n = 114 [25 %]; primary sepsis, n = 110 [32 %]; urinary tract infection, n = 46 [8 %]; other, n = 87 [22 %]).

Conclusion: Our numbers reveal that a high number of HAIs are missed using CDC-definitions and therefore the magnitude of the problem might be underestimated. Furthermore, a high percentage of HAIs progress from localized infection to severe sepsis or septic shock, requiring ICU treatment.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Central Venous Catheters / statistics & numerical data*
  • Critical Care
  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Cross Infection / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education*
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / statistics & numerical data
  • Middle Aged
  • Program Evaluation
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis / epidemiology*
  • Sepsis / prevention & control*