Funds to cut hospital-acquired infections

March 14, 2011 at 11:03 PM

ATLANTA, March 14 (UPI) -- The U.S. government allocated $10 million for the Prevention Epicenter program to reduce hospital-acquired infections, officials say.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said the Prevention Epicenter program, created in 1997, was designed to promote new ways to address difficult healthcare problems such as reducing the burden of hospital-acquired infections and antibiotic resistance.

The funding will go to Cook County Health & Hospital Systems and Rush University Medical Center in Chicago; Duke University in Durham, N.C.; Harvard Pilgrim Health Care in Wellesley, Mass.; University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., to study several prevention programs.

The innovative strategies include:

-- Using combinations of bleach and ultraviolet light to clean hospital rooms to help prevent infection.

-- New tests to distinguish patients who need antibiotics from those who don't, as a means to prevent antibiotic-resistant infections.

-- Methods of helping doctors anticipate when medical devices being used to treat a patient are on the verge of causing an infection.

-- Treating patients with living microorganisms that are harmless to the patient but compete with harmful germs, as a means of preventing healthcare-associated infections.

"With prevention epicenters, we can expand our current knowledge and save even more lives as we work toward our goal of eliminating hospital-acquired infections," Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, says in a statement.

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