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The epidemiology of multidrug-resistant organisms in persons diagnosed with cancer in Norway, 2008-2018: expanding surveillance using existing laboratory and register data.

Surveillance has revealed an increase of multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs), even in low-prevalent settings such as Norway. MDROs pose a particular threat to at-risk populations, including persons with cancer. It is necessary to include such populations in future infection surveillance. By combining existing data sources, we aimed to describe the epidemiology of MDROs in persons diagnosed with cancer in Norway from 2008 to 2018. A cohort was established using data from the Cancer Registry of Norway, which was then linked to notifications of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin- and/or linezolid-resistant enterococci (V/LRE), and carbapenemase-producing Gram-negative bacilli (CP-GNB) from the Norwegian Surveillance System for Communicable Diseases, and laboratory data on third-generation cephalosporin-resistant Enterobacterales (3GCR-E) from Oslo University Hospital (OUH). We described the incidence of MDROs and resistance proportion in Enterobacterales from 6 months prior to the person's first cancer diagnosis and up to 3 years after. The cohort included 322,005 persons, of which 0.3% (878) were diagnosed with notifiable MDROs. Peak incidence rates per 100,000 person-years were 60.9 for MRSA, 97.2 for V/LRE, and 6.8 for CP-GNB. The proportion of 3GCR-E in Enterobacterales in blood or urine cultures at OUH was 6% (746/12,534). Despite overall low MDRO incidence, there was an unfavourable trend in the incidence and resistance proportion of Gram-negative bacteria. To address this, there is a need for effective infection control and surveillance. Our study demonstrated the feasibility of expanding the surveillance of MDROs and at-risk populations through the linkage of existing laboratory and register data.

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