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Hospitals See Reductions in Some Health Care-Associated Infections

CDC highlights areas for improvement (Feb. 11)

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

The report looked at data submitted to the National Health care Safety Network, the CDC’s infection-tracking system, which receives information from more than 11,500 health care facilities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. The number of infections reported was compared with data from 2010, as well as with a national baseline.

In 2011, the CDC reported:

  • A 41% reduction in central-line associated bloodstream infections since 2008, up from the 32% reduction reported in 2010. Progress in preventing these infections was seen in intensive care units (ICUs), wards, and neonatal ICUs in all reporting facilities.
  • 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 says.
  • A 7% reduction in catheter-associated UTIs since 2009, which is the same percentage of reduction that was reported in 2010. While patients in general wards showed modest reductions in infections, essentially no reduction in infections was reported in critical care locations.

According to the CDC, catheter-associated UTIs among ICU patients are an area of significant concern because patients who develop these infections are more likely to need antibiotics. While antibiotics are critical for treating bacterial infections, they can also put patients at risk for other complications, including a deadly diarrhea caused by the bacterium Clostridium difficile.

As part of the National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections — established in 2008 — the Department of Health and Human Services has set goals for reducing central line-associated bloodstream infections, catheter-associated UTIs, and surgical-site infections by December 2013. The data included in this report indicate that steady progress is being made towards the goal of a 50% reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections and a 25% reduction in surgical-site infections over the course of 5 years. Although progress toward the 25% reduction goal for catheter-associated UTIs is moving more slowly, with sustained prevention efforts the 2013 goal remains attainable, the CDC says.

Source: CDC; February 11, 2013.

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