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researchsquare; 2021.


Background: Antibacterial prescribing in patients presenting with COVID-19 remains discordant to rates of bacterial co-infection. Implementing diagnostic tests to exclude bacterial infection may aid reduction in antibacterial prescribing. Method: A retrospective observational analysis was undertaken of all hospitalised patients with COVID-19 across a single-site NHS acute Trust (London, UK) from 01/12/20-28/2/21. Electronic patient records were used to identify patients, clinical data, and outcomes. Procalcitonin (PCT) serum assays, where available on admission, were analysed against electronic prescribing records for antibacterial prescribing to determine relationships with a negative PCT result (<0.25mg/L) and antibacterial course length. Results: Antibacterial agents were initiated on admission in 310/624 (49.7%) of patients presenting with COVID-19. 33/74 (44.5%) patients with a negative PCT on admission had their treatment stopped within 24 hours. 6/49 (12.2%) patients who had antibacterials started but a positive PCT had their treatment stopped. Microbiologically confirmed bacterial infection was low (19/594; 3.2%); no correlation was seen with PCT and culture positivity (p=1). Lower mortality (15.6% vs 31.4%;p=0.049), length of hospital stay (7.9days vs 10.1days;p=0.044), and intensive care unit (ICU) admission (13.9% vs 40.8%;p=0.001) were seen among patients with low PCT. Conclusion: This retrospective analysis of community acquired COVID-19 patients demonstrates the potential role of PCT in excluding bacterial co-infection. A negative PCT on admission correlates with shorter antimicrobial courses, early cessation of therapy and predicts lower frequency of ICU admission. Low PCT may support decision making in cessation of antibacterials at the 48-72 hour review.

COVID-19 , Bacterial Infections
researchsquare; 2020.


Objectives – We investigated for change in blood stream infections (BSI) with Enterobacterales, coagulase negative staphylococci (CoNS), Streptococcus pneumoniae, and Staphylococcus aureus during the first UK wave of SARS-CoV-2 across six London hospitals.Methods – A retrospective multicentre ecological analysis was undertaken evaluating all blood cultures taken from adults from 01 April 2017 to 30 April 2020 across six acute hospitals in London. Linear trend analysis and ARIMA models allowing for seasonality were used to look for significant variation.Results –119,584 blood cultures were included. At the height of the UK SARS-CoV-2 first wave in April 2020, Enterobacterales bacteraemias were at an historic low across two London trusts (63/3814, 1.65%), whilst CoNS were at an historic high (173/3814, 4.25%). This differed significantly for both Enterobacterales (p=0.013) and CoNS (p<0.01), when compared with prior periods, even allowing for seasonal variation. S. pneumoniae (p=0.631) and S. aureus (p=0.617) BSI did not vary significant throughout the study period.Conclusions – Significantly fewer than expected Enterobacteriales BSI occurred during the UK peak of the COVID-19 pandemic; identifying potential causes, including potential unintended consequences of national self-isolation public health messaging, is essential. High rates of CoNS BSI, presumably representing contamination associated with increased use of personal protective equipment, may result in inappropriate antimicrobial use and indicates a clear area for intervention during further waves.