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P236: Effect of a prevention campaign on the prevalence of infections among patients in Belgian psychiatric hospitals: a dynamic prospective cohort study (2001-2010)


Infection control programs are crucial in reducing healthcare associated infections and their inherent costs. Few data on infection prevalence in psychiatry and effectiveness of prevention are available.


In this study, we investigated in psychiatric institutions the evolution of 1) point prevalence of infections, infected patients, and antibiotics’ use; 2) prevalence infection rates before and after a hand hygiene campaign.


Demographics, antibiotics’ use, presence and type of infections were registered by an assessor using a standardized form. The criteria to determine the presence of an infection were based on the criteria of the Centers for Disease Control (1988).


The overall infection, resp. infected patients prevalence was 18.9% and 16.5%. The three most frequent infections were 1) skin or soft tissue (38.7%), 2) lower (22.5%) and 3) upper respiratory tract infections (11.4%). The prevalence of antibiotics’ use was 2,7%. The implementation of a hand hygiene campaign resulted in significant decreased prevalence of infected patients: 17.7% (95% CI: 17.1-18.3) before versus 15.1% (95% CI: 14.4-15.7) in the 4-years after the implementation. Antibiotics’ use among infected patients diminished from 17.5% to 14.0% (p<0.001).


These results are suggestive for a statistically and clinically significant effect of hand hygiene campaigns. Per 1000 patients/year, 37 infections and 26 infected patients have potentially been avoided.

Disclosure of interest

None declared

Author information

Correspondence to R Haenen.

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  • Respiratory Tract
  • Respiratory Tract Infection
  • Infection Rate
  • Prospective Cohort
  • Control Program