According to data collected concerning infections at 10 large hospitals in Greece, only one in three doctors and nurses apply hand hygiene rules – using antiseptic – before patient contact and less than half do the same before any aseptic procedure in patient handling.

Experts said this may explain the fact that the number of micro viruses developed by patients treated with venous catheters, which are the most common hospital-acquired infections, is six times higher in Greece than in the US.

The survey was conducted as part of the program for the prevention and control of hospital-acquired infections and antimicrobial resistance, which is exclusively funded by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and implemented by the the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Outcomes Research and the National Organization for Quality Assurance in Health, in collaboration with the Greek National Health Service, the Ministry of Health, the University of Athens and the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Its aim is to address a major problem for the Greek health system. Data from the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention rank Greece first among European Union member-states in the prevalence of hospital-acquired infections.

Before the pandemic, one in 10 hospitalized people in Greece country had a hospital-acquired infection (6 per cent on average in the EU) and an estimated 3,000 patients were dying from them every year.