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Opioid injection-associated bacterial infections in England, 2002-2021: a time series analysis of seasonal variation and the impact of COVID-19

Lewer, D, Brothers, TD, Croxford, S, Desai, M, Emanuel, E, Harris, M and Hope, VD Opioid injection-associated bacterial infections in England, 2002-2021: a time series analysis of seasonal variation and the impact of COVID-19. Clinical Infectious Diseases. ISSN 1058-4838 (Accepted)

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/cid/ciad144 (Accepted version)


Background: Bacterial infections cause substantial pain and disability among people who inject drugs. We described time trends in hospital admissions for injecting-related infections in England.
Methods: We analysed hospital admissions in England between January 2002 and December 2021. We included patients with infections commonly caused by drug injection, including cutaneous
abscesses, cellulitis, endocarditis, or osteomyelitis, and a diagnosis of opioid use disorder. We used Poisson regression to estimate seasonal variation and changes associated with COVID-19
Results: There were 92,303 hospital admissions for injection-associated infections between 2002 and 2021. 87% were skin, soft-tissue or vascular infections; 72% of patients were male; and the median age increased from 31 years in 2002 to 42 years in 2021. The rate of admissions reduced from 13.97 per day (95% CI 13.59-14.36) in 2003 to 8.94 (95% CI 8.64-9.25) in 2011, then increased to 18.91 (95% CI 18.46-19.36) in 2019. At the introduction of COVID-19 response in March 2020, the rate of injection-associated infections reduced by 35.3% (95% CI 32.1%-38.4%). Injection-associated infections were also seasonal; the rate was 1.21 (95% CI 1.18-1.24) times higher in July than in February.
Conclusions: This incidence of opioid injection-associated infections varies within years and reduced following COVID-19 response measures. This suggest that social and structural factors such as housing and the degree of social mixing may contribute to the risk of infection, supporting investment in improved social conditions for this population as a means to reduce the burden of injecting-related

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences; 11 Medical and Health Sciences; Microbiology
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
Divisions: Public Health Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2023 10:51
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 12:30
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/cid/ciad144
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19087

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