Health Care-Related Infections Declined in 2010: CDC

While drop is encouraging, more needs to be done, experts say

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 19, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Rates of four common health care-related infections declined in the United States in 2010, but more work is needed to eliminate all such types of infections, a federal government report says.

The analysis of data submitted by hospitals to the U.S. National Healthcare Safety Network revealed a 33 percent overall reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections, with a 35 percent decline among critical care patients and a 26 percent decrease among non-critical care patients.

A central line is a tube that's placed in a large vein of a patient's neck or chest to provide medical treatment. When a central line is not put in correctly or kept clean, it can become a pathway for germs to enter the body and cause serious bloodstream infections, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention researchers said.

The investigators also found an 18 percent decline in the number of patients developing health care-associated invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections, a 10 percent decrease in surgical site infections, and a 7 percent reduction in catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Improvements in health care providers' adherence to infection control measures were also noted by the researchers.

The report was presented Wednesday in a policy summit at the National Journal in Washington, D.C.

Two other types of infections -- Clostridium difficile infections and MRSA bloodstream infections -- are currently being tracked and data on them will be available next year, according to the CDC.

"Hospitals continue to make impressive progress in driving down certain infections in intensive care units through implementation of CDC prevention strategies," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, CDC director, said in an agency news release.

"Hospitals and state health departments need to translate this progress to other areas of health care delivery and health care infections, such as dialysis and ambulatory surgery centers, and diarrheal infections such as Clostridium difficile," Frieden noted.

Dr. Denise Cardo, director of the CDC's Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, added: "These successes reflect investments not only in hospital practices, but in our national and state public health capacity. Preventing infections in health care saves lives and reduces health care costs."

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about health care-associated infections.

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 19, 2011
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