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If it seems as if your hospital takes two steps forward and one back when trying to conquer healthcare-associated infection rates, you aren’t alone. According to two reports released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in late March, things are getting better in some ways, but one in 25 patients are still going into the hospital and getting sick there.
The first study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, used 2011 data from 183 U.S. hospitals to estimate the burden of a wide range of infections in hospital patients.1
That year, there were some 721,800 infections in 648,000 hospital patients. About 75,000 patients with healthcare-associated infections died during their hospitalizations. The most common of those infections were pneumonia (22%), surgical-site infections (22%), gastrointestinal infections (17%), urinary tract infections (13%), and bloodstream infections (10%).
The most common germs causing healthcare-associated infections 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, National and State Healthcare-associated Infection Progress Report, has some of the more positive news, including:
• a 44% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2008 and 2012;
• a 20% decrease in infections related to the 10 surgical procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2012;
• a 4% decrease in hospital-onset MRSA between 2011 and 2012;
• a 2% decrease in hospital-onset C. difficile infections between 2011 and 2012.
That said, there was a 3% increase in catheter-associated urinary tract infections between 2009 and 2012, and no state managed to perform better than the national standardized infection ratio (the measure used by the report) on all four infection types.
Sixteen states performed better than the nation on two infections, including two states performing better on three infections. In addition, 16 states performed worse than the nation on two infections, with seven states performing worse on at least three infections.
The data on which the CDC based its release of information in March can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/pdfs/progress-report/hai-progress-report.pdf for the progress report on healthcare acquired infections, and http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1306801#t=articleTop for the 10-state survey.