CDC Studies Examine Health Care-Associated Infections
On Wednesday, CDC released new studies that offer the most comprehensive look to date at the prevalence of health care-associated infections, the New York Times reports.
Although the rate of HAIs has dropped in recent years, an estimated 75,000 patients died of the complications in 2011.
First CDC Study
One in 25 patients treated at U.S. hospitals acquires an infection during their stay, despite notable progress in controlling the spread of lethal pathogens over the past decade, according to the first study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The study represents CDC's first nationally representative count of hospital infections, which cause thousands of deaths every year (Tavernise, New York Times, 3/26). Based on a survey of 183 hospitals in 10 states in 2011, the researchers determined that there were about 721,800 HAIs in 648,000 patients in 2011. About 75,000 of those patients died as a result (Firger, CBS News, 3/26).
According to the study, the most common HAIs are:
- Pneumonia (22%);
- Surgical site infections (22%);
- Gastrointestinal infections (17%);
- Urinary tract infections (13%); and
- Bloodstream infections (10%) (Bernstein, "To Your Health," Washington Post, 3/26).
The most common culprit of infection was the bacterium Clostridium difficile, which kills approximately 14,000 people in the United States each year. The pathogen was detected in 12% of patients with HAIs in 2011 and accounted for 71% of all gastrointestinal infections (Emery, Reuters, 3/26).
C. diff -- along with methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, another common pathogen that has become increasingly resistant to antibiotics -- comprise the majority of HAIs, according to Michael Bell, deputy director of CDC's division of health care quality promotion. However, other common HAIs seem to have become less prevalent ("To Your Health," Post, 3/26).
Second CDC Study
In a separate CDC report also released on Wednesday, researchers found that:
- Central line-associated bloodstream infections decreased by 44% from 2008 to 2012;
- Infections from common surgical procedures declined by 20% over the same period; and
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infections rose 3% from 2009 to 2012.