Alarming Rise in Secondary Infections and Antimicrobial Resistance in COVID-19 Patients Admitted at a Tertiary Care Centre in Dehradun, Northern India
Dr. Rajender Singh,
Department of Microbiology, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences, SRHU, Jollygrant, Dehradun, Uttrakhand, India.
Introduction: Secondary infections are emerging as a serious threat among hospitalised patients of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19). Overuse of antibiotics and inadequate infection control practices due to COVID-19 patients’ workload leads to a sudden upsurge of Multidrug Resistance (MDR) pathogens in healthcare settings attributing to higher mortality rates among the same.
Aim: To detect the secondary infection rate among COVID-19 patients admitted to the hospital ward and Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and report the impact on antimicrobial resistance and patient outcome.
Materials and Methods: A retrospective study was conducted for a period of three months of the second COVID-19 wave from 15th April 2021 to 14th july 2021 in the Department of Microbiology, Himalayan Institute of Medical Sciences (HIMS), Swami Rama Himalayan University (SRHU), Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India. All clinical samples of Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) positive cases of COVID-19 received in the laboratory were cultured and identified using the Vitek-2 automated system and conventional fungal culture. Relevant demographic, characteristics, and clinical outcome data were obtained from records of the patient and recorded in reporting forms and were analysed for the study. Results were analysed with Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20.0 and Microsoft Excel 2019.
Results: Overall secondary infection rate of 135 (13.6%) was found among COVID-19 admitted patients. The most commonly isolated bacterial pathogens were Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus species (18.52%) and Enterococcus species (8.89%). Whereas the most common fungal isolates were Candida species (20.75%) and Rhizopus (8.15%). In the present study, 60.5% of bacterial pathogens isolated were Multidrug-resistant Organisms (MDRO). Mortality among COVID-19 patients with secondary infection was reported as 53% which was higher than the overall mortality rate of 36% in the same.
Conclusion: A high secondary infection rate, MDRO isolation rate, and high mortality among COVID-19 with secondary infection were reported. This shows the urgent need for reinforcement of infection control practices and strict antimicrobial stewardship policies.