Gastrointestinal infections (GI infections) are caused by viral, bacterial or parasitic micro-organisms. GI infections cause gastroenteritis, inflammation of gastrointestinal tract, the symptoms of which include abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea that can lead to potentially dangerous dehydration.
Typical bacterial in GI infections, pathogens include E. coli, Salmonella, Shigella and Campylobacter. Viral infections can be caused by norovirus, rotavirus and adenovirus, whilst parasitic infections can stem from a variety of pathogens like Giardia lamblia and Cryptosporidium spp.
GI infections often resolve themselves in a few days and require no treatment but diagnosis through laboratory tests might be needed in certain cases, such as in healthcare settings, when symptoms persist past a reasonable time or in specific patient populations.
Antimicrobial Resistance Management
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a significant and growing global health challenge. The excessive use of antibiotics across the world has boosted the number 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 practices to be implemented, decreases the risk of infection spreading and reduces healthcare costs. Molecular diagnostics offer a much faster method for the diagnosis of AMR, and more extensive screening capabilities.
Healthcare Associated Infections
Nosocomial infections, also called hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) are infections patients acquire in a hospital or other healthcare facility.
The 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 the 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 they necessitate - together with increased use of medication by the patient and their need for isolation - can lead to considerable costs to patients or healthcare payers.