Gastrointestinal infections (GI infections) are caused by viral, bacterial or parasitic micro-organisms. GI infections cause gastroenteritis, inflammation of gastrointestinal tract, of which symptoms include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea that in turn can lead to potentially dangerous dehydration.
In GI infections, typical bacterial pathogens include E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter. Viral infections can be caused by norovirus, rotavirus and adenovirus amongst other. Parasitic infections can be caused by variety of pathogens like Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium spp.
GI infections are often resolved by their own in a few days and require no treatment but diagnosis through laboratory tests might be needed in cases such as in healthcare settings, when symptoms continue or in specific populations.
Antimicrobial Resistance Management
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a global growing health challenge. The excessive use of antibiotics has boosted the increase of multidrug resistant organisms, also called “super bacteria”, making antibiotics less and less effective.
Beta-lactams are by far the most used antibiotics worldwide and include carbapenems which are the most effective against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. However, during the last decade, Gram-negative bacilli (in particular Enterobacteriaceae) with a decreased susceptibility to carbapenems have been increasingly reported worldwide. There is also a growing resistance to “last resort” antibiotics such as vancomycin and colistin.
Fast diagnosis is important in treating patients with AMR infections. Rapid detection of pathogens and their potential resistance to antibiotics enables faster infection control implementation, decreases the risk of infection spreading and reduces healthcare costs. Molecular diagnostics can offer a more rapid method for diagnosis and more extensive screening for AMR.
Healthcare Associated Infections
Nosocomial infections, also called hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are infections patients acquire in a hospital or other healthcare facility.
Most common types of HAIs include infections following surgeries, urinary tract infections and lower respiratory tract infections. Hospital-acquired gastrointestinal infections are generally caused by bacterial pathogens like Clostridium difficile, Enterobacteriaceae or Staphylococcus aureus.
Hospital-acquired infections occur worldwide both in developed and developing countries. According to World Health Organization they are among the prime causes of death and increased morbidity among hospitalized patients.
The economic costs of HAIs are substantial. The prolonged hospital stay together with increased use of drugs and need for isolation can cause considerable costs to patients or healthcare payers.