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Measure  –  Infections


This section provides resources and tools to measure the prevalence, spread and impact of infections in health care and in the community. You can also find links to selected data sources and relevant reports.

Health care-associated infections

Healthcare-associated infections result in prolonged morbidity, in-hospital stay or even mortality for affected patients as well as substantial excessive costs for health care and society (see more in UNDERSTAND: Antibiotic resistance – Health care-associated infections).

Data on health care-associated infections can be used to inform health care facilities on negative trends and where to focus infection prevention and control measures, as well as to evaluate the effect of performed interventions. Such data can also be efficient in work to sensitize policy makers to address the resistance problem. Generally, health care-associated infections are measured in combination with antibiotic use and or antibiotic resistance. Point prevalence studies can be useful to estimate the number of health care-associated infections.

Community-acquired infections

Under development – Please check back soon

The resources have been sorted into the following tables:

  • General
  • Health care
  • Databases and reports: Health care
  • Databases and reports: Community

Selected Resources


Resource Description
ECDC tool for the prioritisation of infectious disease threats Tool: Qualitative spreadsheet tool (Excel workbook/Google doc) for ranking of infectious disease threats in a transparent, comparable and methodologically reproducible way. Intended as a supplement to other methods that support decisions in preparedness planning. Comes with an accompanying manual.
Epi Info Tool: Software tool for collecting, analyzing and managing epidemiological data (by the US CDC). Can be used for assessment of disease outbreaks or development of small or mid-size surveillance systems. Free of charge. Can be implemented in settings with limited network connectivity, thus suitable for resource-constrained settings. Translated into 13 languages.

Health care

Resource Description
IFIC Basic Concepts of Infection Control e-Book: This book provides scientific foundation for basic infection control principles mainly to countries with limited resources. 2016 Edition available in English, 2011 Edition available in Spanish, Italian, French, Hungarian, Arabic and Bulgarian. Several chapters may be useful including:

  • Chapter 4: Surveillance for HAIs (procedures for setting up surveillance)
  • Chapter 7: The Role of the Microbiology Laboratory (tables describe characteristics of main groups of microbes potentially causing HAIs. Specifies what specimens to take)
ECDC point prevalence survey of HAIs and antimicrobial use in European acute care hospitals Protocol that provides methodology and data collection forms for performing point prevalence surveys (PPS) of healthcare-associated infections (and antimicrobial use) in European hospitals. PPS survey validation protocol can be found here.
ECDC point prevalence survey of HAIs and antimicrobial use in European long-term care facilities Protocol for long-term care facilities that provides methodology and data collection forms for point prevalence survey (PPS) of healthcare-associated infections and antimicrobial use. European setting. PPS survey validation protocol can be found here.
Infection Control Assessment Tool (ICAT) for Primary Health Care Facilities Tool: Simple and practical approach to assess infection prevention and control practices in primary care and to highlight deficiencies in current practices. Also proposes reformatory actions to prevent health care-associated infections (HAIs).
HELICSWin.Net Tool: A software application developed for the manual entry of data of the ECDC surveillance of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).
CDC HAI and Antibiotic use Prevalence Survey Information on the CDC’s use of a prevalence survey to make improved estimates of the burden of health care-associate infections in the US, including technical information about the study.
Best practices for hospitals and long-term care homes for the establishment of a surveillance system to detect health care-associated infections within facilities. Public Health Agency in Ontario, Canada.
Protocol for surveillance of C. difficile infections.
Protocol from ECDC with standardized definitions, data collection and reporting procedures for surveillance of healthcare associated infections in intensive care units (HAI-ICU).
Protocol from ECDC with standardized definitions, data collection and reporting procedures for surveillance of surgical site infections.
Checklist: Provides a 22 item checklist (with example) to assist researchers to report on health care associated infections and interventions in a transparent and systematic way.

Databases and reports: Health care

Resource Description
Outbreak Database – Worldwide Database for Nosocomial Outbreaks Database that collects published literature about disease outbreaks within the health care setting across the world. The aim is to facilitate outbreak management and provide information for education and training. It includes information about for example the setting, persons affected, type of microorganism, source, mode of transmission and prevention measures as well as links to the original article. Infection control and hospital epidemiology experts started the project in 2001 and the data is updated continuously.
Report on the Burden of Endemic Health Care-Associated Infection Worldwide Report: A comprehensive WHO Report on the burden of endemic health care-associated infection in high-, middle- and low-income countries and their impact worldwide. From 2011.
Burden of endemic health-care-associated infection in developing countries: systematic review and meta-analysis Review from 2011 on the epidemiology of health care-associated infections in low- and middle-income countries (The Lancet).
CDC’s Antibiotic Resistance Patient Safety Atlas Database: Open and interactive data about healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria reported to the CDC. The app provides national, regional, and state views of superbug-drug combinations showing resistance over time.

Databases and reports: Community

Resource Description
ProMED-mail, the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases Database: This online reporting system offers the possibility for rapid information dissemination on infectious disease outbreaks and acute exposures to toxins that affect human health, including livestock. The database can be found here.
Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Data Visualizations Tool: Visualization tool of global, regional, national, and in some cases subnational estimates of the burden of diseases, injuries, and risk factors. Allows comparison of effects of different diseases, changes over time and across age groups and populations. IHME.
Global tuberculosis report 2017 Reports: WHO publishes yearly reports on the global tuberculosis situation, including the latest data on drug resistance.
Global burden of foodborne diseases Report that gives an overview on the global burden of foodborne diseases.
Surveillance Atlas of Infectious Diseases Database: Interactive map developed by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control that provides updated data on a number of infectious diseases. The map allows to search for disease type, the number of deaths, cases associated with travel etc., year and European country.
Systematic review on the incubation and infectiousness/shedding period of communicable diseases in children Review that provides evidence essential for public health action gathered from European Union member states in regard to controlling the spread of communicable diseases in childcare settings.

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