Clostridium difficile
March 27, 2014

CDC: Over 600K Patients Infected While Hospitalized Each Year

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

About one of 25 men and women receiving medical care in American hospitals on any given day will acquire an infection during the course of their treatment, according to new estimates released Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

According to Kim Painter of USA Today, the federal health agency report said that even though these incidents are preventable, they affect 648,000 patients per year. Furthermore, the 2011 survey of 183 hospitals in 10 different states also revealed that approximately 11 percent of those patients die as a result of those infections.

The survey, which appears in the New England Journal of Medicine, found that hospital acquired infections occur 721,800 times annually. Previously, estimates obtained using different methodology placed those numbers at 1.7 million for the period from 1990 through 2002, explained Reuters reporter Gene Emery.

“Although there has been some progress, today and every day, more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said in a statement. “The most advanced medical care won’t work if clinicians don’t prevent infections through basic things such as regular hand hygiene. Health care workers want the best for their patients; following standard infection control practices every time will help ensure their patients’ safety.”

The most common ailments contracted by patients in medical facilities included pneumonia (22 percent), surgical site infections (22 percent), gastrointestinal infections (17 percent), urinary tract infections (13 percent), and bloodstream infections (10 percent), the federal public health institute report said.

The pathogens most associated with those infections were C. difficile (12 percent), Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA (11 percent), Klebsiella (10 percent), E. coli (9 percent), Enterococcus (9 percent), and Pseudomonas (7 percent). Klebsiella and E. coli are members of the Enterobacteriaceae bacteria family, which the CDC said has become increasingly resistant to a type of last-resort antibiotics called carbapenems.

A second report, also released by the CDC on Wednesday, found that there was a 44 percent decrease in central line-associated bloodstream infections between 2008 and 2012. It also found a 20 percent decrease in infections related to the 10 surgical procedures tracked in the report during that time span, as well as a four percent decrease in hospital-onset MRSA and a two percent drop in hospital-onset C. difficile infections between 2011 and 2012.

Overall, “the trend, in magnitude, seems to be going in the right direction,” Dr. Mike Bell, deputy director of the Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion at the CDC, told Reuters Health on Wednesday. He added that the research “validates the work we've been doing, focusing on some of the severe infections related to intensive care, related to devices such as catheters in the bloodstream or the bladder, mechanical ventilation or surgical procedures.”