Critically ill COVID 19 patients with additional infectious diseases are at a higher risk of death, reports Aga Khan University Hospital, Nairobi.
Such patients, the study says are also likely to have longer hospital stays and to require the use of a mechanical ventilator.
While the study says such infections were rare in patients attending this top flight private facility, when they occurred such clients were at greater danger of losing lives.
Majority of poor Kenyans, who are likely to suffer infectious disease such as pneumonia, HIV, TB, typhoid, or meningitis are also likely to attend poorly resourced public hospitals with low risk of recovery.
These patients, the new study also suggest are also at high risk of acquiring hard to treat infections from the hospitals further aggravating their conditions.
So far, the emphasis has been on the impact of non communicable disease such as diabetes and hypertension in COVID 19 patients.
Hence this is the first such study in Kenya to investigate the impact of microbial infection in critically ill COVID 19 patients.
“Our study reports relatively low rates of microbial infections in our cohort of critically ill COVID-19 patients. However, where present, these were associated with higher death rates, greater need for mechanical ventilation and prolonged hospitalization,” says the study.
The presence of added bacterial or fungal infections was associated with higher mortality in the study population; 58 per cent compared to 36 percent for those with no added infections.
The study by a team of doctors at the hospital also warns of overuse of antibiotics on COVID 19 patients as this could lead to the development of hard to treat (drug resistant) infections.
The team reports high use of antibiotics on COVID 19 patients at the facility and documents significant presence of drug resistant disease causing organisms.
“Multi-drug resistant pathogens were frequent among the commonly isolated bacteria such as K. pneumoniae, P. aeruginosa, E. coli and A. baumannii.” These are organisms associated with pneumonia, respiratory, urinary tract and blood infections in humans.
In the pre-proof posted last month with the International Journal of Infectious Disease – Regions, the authors want authorities to develop local guidelines on the rational use of antibiotics in COVID 19 patients.
By Gatonye Gathura
The pre-proof is available here: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijregi.2021.09.008