BACKGROUND: In order to develop guidelines for the use of antimicrobial agents, it is necessary to obtain detailed information on the prevalence of infectious diseases and antibiotic usage.
METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted among outpatients with acute infections visiting the emergency department of the University Hospital of León, Nicaragua.
RESULTS: Over the course of one month, 2027 patients visited the emergency department. Seven hundred and thirty-two patients (36.1%) had an infection, with a total of 799 acute infections. The majority of patients (55.9%) were children. Respiratory tract infections (43.4%), urogenital infections (29.5%), and diarrhea or gastroenteritis of presumed infectious origin (8.8%) were the most frequent infections. Among respiratory tract infections, the most frequent diagnoses were community-acquired pneumonia (CAP; 31.4%), acute tonsillitis (28.2%), and the common cold (17.6%). CAP was treated with procaine benzylpenicillin in 70.6% of cases, whereas 84.0% of patients with acute tonsillitis were treated with a single dosage of benzathine benzylpenicillin intramuscularly. Among urogenital infections, the most frequent diagnosis was acute uncomplicated urinary tract infection (24.2%). Approximately a quarter of patients with uncomplicated urinary tract infections did not receive treatment according to the local guidelines. Of the patients with acute diarrhea, 27.1% were treated with antibiotics, while only a minority had leukocytes in Wright stain of the feces.
CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion our study shows that the use of antimicrobial agents is not optimal. Antibiotics were prescribed too often and not according to the local guidelines. This will further exacerbate the resistance problem in Nicaragua.