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U.S. reports 18 percent drop in hospital-acquired bloodstream infections

by Brendon Nafziger, DOTmed News Associate Editor | May 28, 2010
Progress on infection rates
The rate of deadly bloodstream infections associated with central line catheters dropped around 18 percent nationwide, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' first state-by-state report on hospital-acquired infections.

"Our nation is making progress toward eliminating health care-associated infections that kill almost 100,000 Americans each year," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement Thursday.

The report, First State-Specific Healthcare-Associated Infections Summary Data Report, compares reported infection rates from more than a dozen states pulled from CDC's National Healthcare Safety Network.

Overall, there were about 4,615 such infections reported, below the 5,169 predicted by earlier estimates.

Wide variations were seen among states, with Maryland reporting about 30 percent more of the bloodstream infections than expected, but Vermont reporting around 70 percent fewer.

According to its plans begun last year, the CDC hopes to drive down rates of the infections, caused by germs entering the bloodstream and associated with catheters that end at or near the heart, by about 75 percent over five years.

Around 248,000 central-line bloodstream infections occur every year, according to CDC estimates. Treatment of the infections cost the U.S. health care system about $2.7 billion, Sebelius said.

To read the report, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/hai/pdfs/stateplans/SIR_05_25_2010.pdf