Changing patterns of bloodstream infections in the community and acute care across two COVID-19 epidemic waves: a retrospective analysis using data linkage

Link to article at PubMed

Clin Infect Dis. 2021 Oct 1:ciab869. doi: 10.1093/cid/ciab869. Online ahead of print.


BACKGROUND: We examined the epidemiology of community- and hospital-acquired bloodstream infections (BSIs) in COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients across two epidemic waves.

METHODS: We analysed blood cultures of patients presenting and admitted to a London hospital group between January 2020 and February 2021. We reported BSI incidence, as well as changes in sampling, case mix, healthcare capacity, and COVID-19 variants.

RESULTS: 34,044 blood cultures were taken. We identified 1,047 BSIs; 653 (62.4%) community-acquired and 394 (37.6%) hospital-acquired. Important changes in patterns were seen. Among community-acquired BSIs, Escherichia coli BSIs remained lower than pre-pandemic level during COVID-19 waves, however peaked following lockdown easing in May 2020, deviating from the historical trend of peaking in August. The hospital-acquired BSI rate was 100.4 per 100,000 patient-days across the pandemic, increasing to 132.3 during the first wave and 190.9 during the second, with significant increase seen in elective inpatients. Patients who developed a hospital-acquired BSI, including those without COVID-19, experienced 20.2 excess days of hospital stay and 26.7% higher mortality, higher than reported in pre-pandemic literature. In intensive care, the BSI rate was 421.0 per 100,000 patient-ICU days during the second wave, compared to 101.3 pre-COVID. The BSI incidence in those infected with the SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant was similar to that seen with earlier variants.

CONCLUSIONS: The pandemic and national responses have impacted the patterns of community- and hospital-acquired BSIs, in COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. Factors driving the observed patterns are complex. Infection surveillance needs to consider key aspects of pandemic response and changes in healthcare access and practice.

PMID:34596212 | DOI:10.1093/cid/ciab869

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