Healthcare-Acquired Infections: CDC Stats

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently reported that a staggering one out of every 25 patients in hospitals fall ill with healthcare-associated infections. The report was issued the last week of March 2014 and was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

busy hospital corridor

The CDC came to its conclusion after reviewing patient data acquired from 183 hospitals in 2011. The results showed that nearly 721,800 healthcare-associated infections afflicted 648,000 patients who were hospitalized and that 75,000 of the individuals died as a result of their illnesses. The largest percentage of patients who got ill were those who had gotten surgery, at 22 percent. Pneumonia infections accounted for the same number. Seventeen percent of patients developed gastrointestinal, 13 percent urinary tract, and 10 percent bloodstream infections as the most commonly acquired healthcare-associated infections at hospitals.

The CDC issued a separate report that asserts that progress is being made to prevent risks of developing infections while in the hospital. For example, it was revealed that between 2008 and 2012, bloodstream infections through central lines decreased by 44 percent and surgical site infections decreased by 20 percent. An additional report revealed that between 2011 and 2012, MRSA and C. difficile infections decreased by 4 percent and 2 percent.In addition, the CDC reported that infections that tend to be the most commonly spread at hospitals are Clostridium difficile at 12 percent, staphylococcus at 11 percent, klebsilella at 10 percent, E coli. at 9 percent, enterococcus at 9 percent and pseudomonas at 7 percent.

Although the progress reports show great improvement in the prevention of these infections in patients at hospitals, the CDC acknowledges there is a lot more work to be done to protect patients from healthcare-associated infections that are preventable.

CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, stated that clinicians have to prevent infections by the most basic means, such as washing their hands. He asserted that even the most advanced techniques are ineffective if basic hygiene is not practiced and that standard infection control must be used to ensure the safety of patients.