On any given day, approximately one in 25 US patients has at least one infection contracted during the course of their hospital care, adding up to about 722,000 infections in 2011, according to new data from the (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This information is an update to previous CDC estimates of healthcare-associated infections.

The agency released two reports late March – one, a New England Journal of Medicine article detailing 2011 national HAI estimates from a survey of hospitals in 10 states, and the other a 2012 annual report on national and state-specific progress toward US Health & Human Services HAI prevention goals. Together, the reports show that progress has been made in the effort to eliminate infections that commonly threaten hospital patients, but more work is needed to improve patient safety.

“Although there has been some progress, today and everyday, more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay,” says CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “The most advanced medical care won’t work if clinicians don’t prevent infections through basic things such as regular hand hygiene. Healthcare workers want the best for their patients; following standard infection control practices every time will help ensure their patients’ safety.”

The CDC Multistate Point-Prevalence Survey of Health Care-Associated Infections, published in NEJM, used 2011 data from 183 US hospitals to estimate the burden of a wide range of infections in hospital patients. That year, about 721,800 infections occurred in 648,000 hospital patients. About 75,000 patients with HAI’s died during their hospitalisations. The most common HAI’s were pneumonia (22%), surgical site infections (22%), gastrointestinal infections (17%), urinary tract infections (13%), and bloodstream infections (10%).

The most common germs causing HAI’s were C. difficile (12%), Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA (11%), Klebsiella (10 %), E. coli (9%), Enterococcus (9%), and Pseudomonas (7%). Klebsiella and E. coli are members of the Enterobacteriaceae bacteria family, which has become increasingly resistant to last-resort antibiotics known as carbapenems.
The second report, CDC’s National and State Healthcare-associated Infection Progress Report, includes a subset of infection types that are commonly required to be reported to CDC. On the national level, the report found a:
– 44% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2008 and 2012
– 20% decrease in infections related to the 10 surgical procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2012
– 4% decrease in hospital-onset MRSA between 2011 and 2012
– 2% decrease in hospital-onset C. difficile infections between 2011 and 2012

“Our nation is making progress in preventing healthcare-associated infections through three main mechanisms: financial incentives to improve quality, performance measures and public reporting to improve transparency, and the spreading and scaling of effective interventions,” reports Patrick Conway, M.D., Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and CMS chief medical officer. “This progress represents thousands of lives saved, prevented patient harm, and the associated reduction in costs across our nation.”

From Inclean