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This award-winning blog supplements the articles in Hospital Infection Control & Prevention.

CDC: Catheter-associated urinary tract infections proving difficult to prevent, other major HAIs falling

Hospitals in the U.S. continue to make progress in the fight against central line-associated bloodstream infections and some surgical site infections, but struggled to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) between 2010 and 2011, according to a new report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC reported a 7% reduction in CAUTIs since 2009, which is the same percentage of reduction that was reported in 2010. While there were modest reductions in infections among patients in general wards, there was essentially no reduction in CAUTI infections reported in critical care locations, the CDC reported.

"The lack of significant reductions in CAUTIs may be due to lack of substantial progress in critical care areas, an inability to substantially decrease catheter days in critical care areas (as can be done more easily in wards), or both of these factors,” the CDC report states. “However, at least one state, Michigan, has seen a 25% reduction in CAUTI using a device-day rate based SIR after implementing a series of prevention initiatives. This suggests that with continued prevention efforts, we should expect continued reductions in both critical care and ward-specific CAUTI SIRs using a device-day methodology as described in this report."

The report looked at data submitted to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), CDC’s premiere infection tracking system, which receives data from more than 11,500 healthcare facilities across all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. Healthcare facilities using NHSN have real-time access to their data for local improvement efforts. This annual report provides analysis of national and state-level healthcare-associated infection data to help identify gaps in prevention.

Other findings in the CDC report included:

A 41 % reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections since 2008, up from the 32% reported in 2010. Progress in preventing these infections was seen in intensive care units (ICU), wards, and neonatal ICUs in all reporting facilities. The CDC estimated that 12,400 central line-associated bloodstream infections occurred in 2011, costing one payer, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), approximately $26,000 per infection.

A 17% reduction in surgical site infections since 2008, up from the 7% reduction reported in 2010.This improvement was not evident for all procedure types, and there is still substantial opportunity for improvement across a range of operative procedures, the CDC concluded.