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This article is part of the supplement: International Conference on Prevention & Infection Control (ICPIC 2011)

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Prohibit WP2 – systematic review of national guidelines in European countries

M Martin1*, C Wilson1, W Zingg2, S Hansen3, P Gastmeier3, D Pittet2, M Dettenkofer1 and PROHIBIT consortium

  • * Corresponding author: M Martin

Author Affiliations

1 University Medical Center Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany

2 Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève, Genève, Switzerland

3 Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany

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BMC Proceedings 2011, 5(Suppl 6):P318  doi:10.1186/1753-6561-5-S6-P318

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published:29 June 2011

© 2011 Martin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Introduction / objectives

The European Commission (FP-7) funded project PROHIBIT (Prevention of Hospital Infections by Intervention and Training) was established in 2010. WP2 of PROHIBIT aims to analyse existing national guidelines, practices in surveillance and public reporting of healthcare associated infections (HAI) in Europe.


The ECDC-HAI surveillance National Contact Points (NCP) and experts in 34 countries (27 EU member states, whereby UK counts as 4 countries, Croatia, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland) were invited to complete a questionnaire and give information about existing national guidelines for prevention of surgical site infection (SSI), ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI), catheter- associated blood stream infection (CA-BSI) and C. difficile infection (CDI). The NCPs were requested to state where the guidelines could be found in print or online. Stated websites were searched and compared to answers. In cases of mismatch NCPs were personally contacted for clarification.


End of March 2011 32 NCPs (94%) completed the questionnaire. 14 countries have guidelines on all 5 topics. 7 countries have 4 guidelines, 1 has 3 and 4 have 1. 5 countries have no national guidelines. Scientific level of supporting evidence and strength of recommendation are stated in 51% of the guidelines. In most countries identification of relevant documents was only possible by personal communication with NCPs. Scope, structure and detailing of recommendations vary widely.


Evidence-based, national guidelines for prevention of HAI are still to be developed in many European countries. In the majority of countries finding the currently valid guidelines may be difficult for users.

Disclosure of interest

None declared.