Young Investigator Awardees 2006
Stephan Jürgen Harbarth born 1967 in Immenstadt, Germany; MD, MS, Senior Research Associate, hospital epidemiologist and attending physician at the University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland, in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of infectious disease epidemiology, focussing on prevention and control of nosocomial infections and antimicrobial resistance in hospitals. In addition he pioneered studies on the cultural and regulatory factors that influence antimicrobial use in different countries.
Stephan Harbarth’s research interest is focussed on the epidemiology and prevention of antibiotic-resistant, healthcare-associated infections. In particular, his studies on the impact and control of nosocomial MRSA transmission have increased our understanding of the epidemiology of MRSA and improved our ability to combat this microorganism.
His other important contributions to the field of antibiotic resistance, which had an impact on policy making, are research on the adverse effects of prolonged antibiotic prophylaxis after surgery and on the ecologic bias associated with group-level data analyses of antibiotic-use-versus-resistance relationships as well as several well conducted intervention studies. For instance, in a recently published article, Stephan Harbarth investigated the clinical usefulness of a rapid on-admission screening test for MRSA. A substantial decrease in MRSA infections was seen in a medical ICU after increasing compliance with on-admission screening and implementing a strategy that linked the rapid test to pre-emptive isolation of MRSA patients.
Complementary research interests include the molecular epidemiology of emerging pathogens such as community-acquired MRSA, the pharmaco-epidemiology of antibiotic use (including international analyses of macro-level determinants of antibiotic overuse), and improved and rapid diagnosis of severe infections in critically ill patients.