Each day of hospitalisation increases the likelihood of the individual acquiring a multidrug-resistant infection, says an alarming study.
"Our findings emphasise one of the risks of being in the hospital is acquiring a multidrug-resistant infection," said co-author John Bosso from the Medical University of South Carolina in the US.
For the study, the researchers gathered and analysed historical data from 949 documented cases of Gram-negative bacterial infection at their academic medical center in the US.
In the first few days of hospitalisation, the percentage of infections associated with Gram-negative bacteria, classified as multidrug-resistant, was about 20 percent and rose fairly steadily until four or five days, then jumped dramatically, peaking at over 35 percent at 10 days.
Statistical analysis suggested an additional one percent risk per day of hospitalisation.
Hospital acquired infections represent a large and possibly preventable segment of hospital related deaths and have been rising in recent years.
On any given day, about 1 in 25 hospital patients has at least one healthcare associated infection and over a third of these infections are caused by Gram-negative bacteria, many of which are resistant to one or more classes of antibiotics, the study noted.
The findings were recently presented at the 54th Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC) in Washington, DC.