U.S. hospital-acquired infections down

April 20, 2012 at 11:36 PM
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WASHINGTON, April 20 (UPI) -- Approximately 1 in every 20 U.S. patients has an infection on any given day, caught while in a hospital for treatment of something else, officials say.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said central line-associated bloodstream infections declined by 33 percent, surgical site infections declined by 10 percent and catheter-associated urinary tract infections declined by 7 percent since the baselines were set in 2009. Invasive Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections declined by 18 percent.

Hospital-acquired infections cost the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars each year and result in the preventable loss of tens of thousands of lives.

Dr. Howard Koh, assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services, said hospital-acquired infections can have devastating emotional, financial and medical consequences.

A state-by-state breakdown by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention demonstrates hospital-acquired infections in U.S. hospitals have been declining since federal health officials first introduced a National Action Plan to Prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections.

"Today, we celebrate the rapid progress achieved through concerted efforts to reduce preventable infections in hospitals," Koh said in a statement. "Already we are saving lives and reducing unnecessary healthcare expenditures."

HHS is scheduled to publish an announcement in the Federal Register next week seeking public comment on its National Action Plan to reduce hospital-associated infections.

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