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The impact of COVID-19 on microbiological profile and antibiotic consumption in ICU: a retrospective study in an infectious disease hospital in Brazil.

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered crises in the public health sector that have complex and multifaceted interrelationships with antimicrobial resistance. It is important to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on microbiological profile, antibiotic and alcohol gel consumption in Intensive Care Units (ICU).

METHODS: This is a retrospective study undertaken in an infectious disease hospital located in Bahia/Brazil during three periods: from March 2019 to February 2020; from March 2020 to February 2021; and from March 2021 to February 2022. It was evaluated the incidence density of Candida spp and of multidrug-resistant Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species (ESKAPE group) in blood, urine and tracheal secretion isolated 48 h after the patient's admission to the ICU, as well as the use of alcohol gel (in milliliters) and consumption of antibiotics in Defined Daily Dose (DDD) per 1,000 ICU patient-days in the previous year and in the first two years of COVID-19 pandemic.

RESULTS: There was an increase in Candida spp. (5.81, p < 0.001, IRR = 10.47, 95 % CI 2.57‒42.62) and in carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii in clinical cultures (4.71, p < 0.001, IRR = 8.46, 95 % CI 2.07‒34.60), the latter mainly in tracheal secretions (3.18, p= 0.02, IRR = 11.47, 95 % CI 1.58‒83.39). A rise in the consumption of ceftriaxone and piperacillin-tazobactam, along with an increase in the utilization of alcohol gel were observed.

CONCLUSION: The shifting microbiological profile can be attributed to both the unique characteristics of patients with COVID-19 and the adjustments made to healthcare facilities' structural and work routines. Understanding these changes is essential in addressing the accelerated impact of antimicrobial resistance during the pandemic. Therefore, conducting thorough reviews of institutional practices and routines becomes critical in mitigating the consequences of antimicrobial resistance and its implications for patient care.

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