A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said there was a 7 percent reduction in catheter-associated urinary tract infections since 2009, which is the same percentage of reduction that was reported in 2010.
While there were modest reductions in infections among patients in general wards, there was essentially no reduction in infections reported in critical care locations, the report said.
Catheter-associated urinary tract infections among intensive care unit patients are an area of significant concern because patients who get these infections are more likely to need antibiotics, the CDC said. While antibiotics are critical for treating bacterial infections, they can also put patients at risk for other complications including a deadly diarrhea caused by the bacteria Clostridium difficile.
CDC researchers analyzed data submitted to the National Healthcare Safety Network -- the CDC's infection tracking system, which receives data from more than 11,500 healthcare facilities across all 50 states.
However, the report said U.S. hospitals reported a 41 percent reduction in central line-associated bloodstream infections from 2008 to 2011. A central line is a tube that is placed in a large vein of a patient's neck or chest to give medical treatment. When not put in correctly or kept clean, central lines can become a route for germs to enter the body and cause serious bloodstream infections.
"Reductions in some of the deadliest healthcare-associated infections are encouraging, especially when you consider the costs to both patients and the healthcare system," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement.
"This report suggests that hospitals need to increase their efforts to track these infections and implement control strategies that we know work."