Study finds infection rates on the rise in the USA, particularly among people with diabetes

October 02, 2018

Infection-related hospitalisations in the USA are on the rise, particularly among people with diabetes, suggesting that more must be done to protect people with diabetes from preventable complications, according to new research being presented at this year's European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) Annual Meeting in Berlin, Germany (1-5 October).

The study, which examined infection-related hospitalisation rates in US adults (aged 18 and older), for more than 15 years, found increasing infection rates for urinary tract infections, sepsis, and skin infections among people with diabetes.

Although cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mortality complications of diabetes are on the decline in the USA, little was known about the trends in non-CVD complications, such as infections, before this latest research.

To investigate trends in hospital admissions for infections, Dr Jessica Harding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, USA and colleagues analysed data from the 2000-2015 National Inpatient Sample, a database that captures approximately 20% of all in-patient hospitalisations from 46 states representing more than 96% of the US population.

The study found that people with diabetes are around two to seven times more likely to be hospitalised with an infection than the general population, depending on infection type.

Rates of infection-related hospitalisations increased 52% in people with diabetes between 2010 and 2015 (from 15.7 to 23.8 per 1,000 people) compared to 17% between 2012 and 2015 (from 6.7 to 7.8) in people without diabetes. Respiratory tract infections and skin and connective tissue infections remained the most common infection types among hospitalisations for people with and without diabetes [1].

Increases in overall infection rates were driven largely by increases in urinary tract infections and hospital-acquired infections (specifically sepsis) in people with and without diabetes, as well as skin and connective tissue infections among young people with diabetes.

"Our findings show that people with diabetes have especially high levels of infection-related hospitalisations", says Jessica Harding, PhD, with CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation. "By identifying and addressing the factors that put people at risk of infection-related hospitalisations, we can work to improve the overall care delivered in our healthcare system. More research is critical to determine the exact causes behind these increases."
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