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Hospitals in U.S. Cut Infection Rates in 2011, CDC Says

CDC Director Thomas Frieden
Center for Disease Control Director Thomas Frieden said "reductions in some of the deadliest health care-associated infections are encouraging, especially when you consider the costs to both patients and the health care system." Photographer: Jim R. Bounds/Bloomberg

Feb. 12 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. hospitals reduced some types of deadly and costly infections in 2011, three years after a government initiative to cut hospital-acquired illnesses.

Infections stemming from catheters placed in a large vein in the neck, chest or groin to give medication or collect blood declined 41 percent from 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said today in a report. Infections following surgery decreased 17 percent since 2008, the CDC said.

The Department of Health and Human Services set a goal in 2008 of reducing the catheter or central line-associated bloodstream infections by 50 percent and surgical site infections by 25 percent, the CDC said in a statement. About 1 in 20 patients gets infected each year while receiving medical care, including 41,000 bloodstream infections that strike hospital patients with catheters, the Atlanta-based health agency said.

“Reductions in some of the deadliest health care-associated infections are encouraging, especially when you consider the costs to both patients and the health care system,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in the statement.

CDC uses data from its National Healthcare Safety Network, which collects information from more than 11,500 health-care facilities in the 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico.

The data showed hospitals improved their procedures, reducing catheter-associated bloodstream and surgical site infections at a faster rate than in 2010. In 2010, catheter infections decreased 32 percent from 2008 while surgical site infections declined 7 percent.

Hospitals made a 7 percent reduction in catheter-associated urinary tract infections from 2009, the same percentage as reported in 2010, CDC said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Edney in Washington at aedney@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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