Healthcare-associated infections decreasing, CDC report shows

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Rates of several healthcare-associated infections, including C. difficile and MRSA, have decreased across the country, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC report analyzed data from more than 17,000 hospitals, long-term care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities across the country. Healthcare-associated infections, developed while a patient is staying in a healthcare facility, affect one in 25 patients in the U.S., according to the report.

Almost all HAIs have decreased compared to a national baseline, with central line-associated bloodstream infections seeing a 50% decrease in hospitals between 2008 and 2014. C. difficile infections fell 8% between 2011 and 2014. MRSA-related infections also saw a significant decrease, dropping 13% compared to a national baseline, CDC found.

While the HAI data is promising, healthcare providers need to focus their infection prevention efforts on antibiotic-resistant “superbugs,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.

“New data show that far too many patients are getting infected with dangerous, drug-resistant bacteria in healthcare settings,” Frieden said. “Doctors and healthcare facilities have the power to protect patients – no one should get sick while trying to get well.”

Providers should be aware of antibiotic resistance patterns in their facilities, follow infection prevention guidelines and pay close attention to their antibiotic prescription practices in order to curb help curb antibiotic resistance, Frieden said.