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article imageOne in 25 patients infected in U.S. hospitals

By Tim Sandle     Apr 1, 2014 in Health
New federal data has revealed that one in 25 U.S. hospital patients has caught an infection while residing in the hospital.
The new data has been released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and it is based on a review of information collated during 2011, based on a study 183 hospitals. The ratio of 1: 25 extrapolates to around 700,000 people (if the figure was extended to account for the entire U.S.).
Infections include such headline grabbing bacteria as Clostridium difficile, which causes often fatal diarrhea and methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The most common infections , the Washington Post summarizes, are pneumonia (22 percent), surgical site infections (22 percent), gastrointestinal infections (17 percent), urinary tract infections (13 percent), and bloodstream infections (10 percent),
The CDC’s Dr. Michael Bell is quoted by NBC News as saying: “You go to the hospital hoping to get better. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Although there has been some progress, today and every day, more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay.”
The reasons are thought to be multifaceted and include inadequate hand washing, poorly disinfected or sterilized equipment, and the overuse of antibiotics (leading to a rise in antibiotic resistant bacteria).
The data has been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, in a paper titled “Multistate Point-Prevalence Survey of Health Care-Associated Infections”.
A second report from the CDC, titled 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 percent decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2008 and 2012
20 percent decrease in infections related to the 10 surgical procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2012
four percent decrease in hospital-onset MRSA between 2011 and 2012
two percent decrease in hospital-onset C. difficile infections between 2011 and 2012
This report concluded that the U.S. 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.
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