CDC report raises alarm about hospital infections

April 4, 2014

Everyday, approximately one in 25 U.S. patients contracts at least one infection during the course of their hospital care, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Everyday, approximately one in 25 U.S. patients contracts at least one infection during the course of their hospital care, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The alarming new data was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Although there has been some progress, today and every day, more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. “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’s Multistate Point-Prevalence Survey of Health Care-Associated Infections” report used 2011 data from 183 U.S. hospitals to estimate a wide range of infections in hospital patients. That year, around 721,800 infections occurred in 648,000 hospital patients. About 75,000 patients with healthcare-associated infections died during their hospitalizations.

The most common healthcare-associated 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 Clostridium difficile (12%)Staphylococcus aureus, including methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus [MRSA] (11%), Klebsiella (10%), Escherichia coli (9%), Enterococcus (9%), and Pseudomonas (7%).  

At the same time, the CDC released a second report, the “National and State Healthcare-associated Infections Progress Report,” which shows signficiant progress in reducing certain healthcare-associated infections.

 

The CDC found a 44% decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2008 and 2012, as well as a 20% decline in infections related to the 10 surgical procedures tracked in the report between 2008 and 2012.

In addition, there was a 4% decrease in hospital-onset MRSA bloodstream infections between 2011 and 2012 and a 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,” said Patrick Conway, MD, deputy administrator for innovation and quality for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and CMS’ chief medical officer.