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Socioeconomic impact of multiresistant nosocomial infections – preliminary results of a qualitative study


Multiresistant nosocomial infections have been extensively studied. However, there are few data on these infections from the patients' perspectives.


The study aims to explore the patients' in-depth experiences about multiresistant nosocomial infections, and the socioeconomic impacts.


The study was conducted in the National University Hospital, Singapore, a tertiary referral hospital with approximately 1200 beds. The study includes patients who have acquired multiresistant nosocomial infections who agreed to participate in extended interviews.


Six patients were interviewed between April and May 2010. All the patients suffered deep-seated infections caused by multiresistant organisms including Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), extended-spectrum beta-lactamases (ESBL) producing gram-negative bacteria.

All the patients had poor knowledge in the sources of infections, symptoms, modes of transmission, prevention, and complications. The commonest misconceptions included ideas that nosocomial infections are mostly airborne, infections are expected consequences of most sickness, and taking ‘strong’ antibiotics can prevent infections. These perceptions were common to patients regardless of the duration of illness and education levels.

These patients also displayed somewhat nihilistic attitudes towards their illness. They did not feel that having more involvement in their management would impact their state of health. A common barrier was the fear that their care could be compromised if they questioned the healthcare professionals.

5 out of 6 patients felt that the infections caused a significant financial impact, which included loss of monthly salaries, cancellation of financial commitments, and compromise in future career prospects.

The patients interviewed did not face any social stigma associated with nosocomial multiresistant infections despite the use of contact precautions in hospital.


Patients continue to have little knowledge and involvement in the management of their health in the nosocomial infections. With the increasing education standards across the globe, more needs to be done in educating the public about multiresistant organisms and infections to achieve a comprehensive approach to their prevention and control.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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Mo, Y., Tambyah, P. Socioeconomic impact of multiresistant nosocomial infections – preliminary results of a qualitative study. Antimicrob Resist Infect Control 4 (Suppl 1), P103 (2015).

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