National surveillance of health care-associated infections in Egypt: Developing a sustainable program in a resource-limited country

Am J Infect Control. 2016 Nov 1;44(11):1296-1301. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2016.04.212. Epub 2016 Jun 20.


Background: Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are a major global public health concern. The lack of surveillance systems in developing countries leads to an underestimation of the global burden of HAI. We describe the process of developing a national HAI surveillance program and the magnitude of HAI rates in Egypt.

Methods: The detailed process of implementation of a national HAI surveillance program is described. A 3-phase surveillance approach was implemented in intensive care units (ICUs). This article focuses on results from the phase 2 surveillance. Standard surveillance definitions were used, clinical samples were processed by the hospital laboratories, and results were confirmed by a reference laboratory.

Results: Ninety-one ICUs in 28 hospitals contributed to 474,544 patient days and 2,688 HAIs. Of these, 30% were bloodstream infections, 29% were surgical site infections, 26% were pneumonia, and 15% were urinary tract infections. Ventilator-associated pneumonia had the highest incidence of device-associated infections (4.3/1,000 ventilator days). The most common pathogens reported were Klebsiella spp (28.7%) and Acinetobacter spp (13.7%). Of the Acinetobacter spp, 92.8% (157/169) were multidrug resistant, whereas 42.5% (151/355) of the Klebsiella spp and 54% (47/87) of Escherichia coli were extended-spectrum β-lactamase producers.

Conclusions: Implementation of a sustainable surveillance system in a resource-limited country was possible following a stepwise approach with continuous evaluation. Enhancing infection prevention and control programs should be an infection control priority in Egypt.

Keywords: Health care–associated infections; antimicrobial resistance; surveillance in intensive care units.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cross Infection / epidemiology*
  • Developing Countries
  • Egypt / epidemiology
  • Epidemiological Monitoring*
  • Health Policy
  • Humans