What does an incidence survey tell you about hospital epidemiology that prevalence surveys do not?

Sally Stewart, Lynne Haahr, Jiafeng Pan, Sharon Kennedy, Chris Robertson, Jacqui Reilly

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Prevalence surveys are the internationally accepted method of reporting burden of disease in hospital epidemiology. However, these snap shots of active cases provide only part of the picture. Prevalence surveys are rapid compared to incidence studies and require less resource. The Evaluation of Cost of
Nosocomial Infection (ECONI) study was a year-long incidence study undertaken within a teaching and general hospital. This incidence study builds on the seminal Plowman study on the socioeconomic burden of healthcare associated infection (HAI). Infections which met the European Centres for Disease Prevention
and Control HAI case definitions were recorded by trained research nurses. Full incidence data was collected on infection type, organisms isolated, date of onset and this was linked to routine data which provided admission and discharge information on cases and non-cases. This study reports seasonal variations in
incidence, by both infection type and organism, and attributable LOS using a multistate modelling approach. Information on all HAI and individual infection types allows for a realistic extrapolation of the potential impact of infection prevention and control interventions. The benefits of information on all new cases
compared with active cases are discussed and how these insights can be used to inform prevalence survey planning. There are limitations, only HAI which became active during the hospital admission were recorded and this study only reports a single year, however this information highlights some key considerations when
interpreting prevalence studies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2020
EventFIS/HIS International 2020 - Online
Duration: 9 Nov 202011 Nov 2020
https://www.his.org.uk/training-events/fis-his-2020/ (Link to conference website)


ConferenceFIS/HIS International 2020
Internet address


  • epidemiology
  • survey
  • disease


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