One in 25 hospitalized patients acquire healthcare-associated infections, according to a report issued last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The CDC's review of patient data collected from 183 hospitals in 2011 showed approximately 721,800 infections occurred in 648,000 hospitalized patients, with 75,000 dying as a result. Surgical site infections accounted for 22% of all infections, matching pneumonia as the most common threat. Gastrointestinal (17%), urinary tract (13%) and bloodstream (10%) infections rounded out the top 5 most common HAIs.
Additionally, the CDC says Clostridium difficile (12%), Staphylococcus (11%), Klebsiella (10%), Escherichia coli (9%), Enterococcus (9%), and Pseudomonas (7%) are the most common germs causing HAIs.
The CDC separately reports that progress is in fact being made to curb infection risks: Central line-associated bloodstream infections decreased by 44% and SSIs associated with 10 commonly reported procedures — including hip and knee arthroplasties, colon surgery and abdominal hysterectomy — decreased by 20% between 2008 and 2012. Additionally, hospital-acquired MRSA and C. difficile infections dropped by 4% and 2%, respectively, between 2011 and 2012.
The progress report notes significant improvement has been made in preventing some types of infections, but "much more work" has yet to be done because "many patients are being harmed by preventable HAIs."
"The most advanced medical care won't work if clinicians don't prevent infections through basic things such as regular hand hygiene," says CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH. "Healthcare workers want the best for their patients. Following standard infection control practices every time will help ensure their patients' safety."