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Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) cause good number of morbidities and mortalities in the United States and are among the most common adverse events in healthcare. So a study was conducted to find a national estimate of the number of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and deaths in United States hospitals.
A multi-step approach and three data sources were used. In the study the main source of data was the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance (NNIS) system, data from 1990–2002, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The data from the (NHDS) National Hospital Discharge Survey (for 2002) and the American Hospital Association Survey (for 2000) were used to complement NNIS data. The percentage of patients with an HAI whose death was determined to be caused or associated with the HAI from NNIS data was used to estimate the number of deaths.
The estimation of HAIs was based on four sub-populations (newborns in high-risk nurseries, newborns in well-baby nurseries, adults and children in ICUs, and adults and children outside of ICUs) and five types of infections viz. surgical site infections, bloodstream infections, pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and other sites combined.
The estimated number of healthcare-associated infections in U.S. hospitals by subpopulation and major site of infection, United States, 2002 has been tabulated below:
In 2002, the estimated number of HAIs in U.S. hospitals, adjusted to include federal facilities, was approximately 1.7 million wherein the estimated deaths associated with HAIs in U.S. hospitals were 98,987.The main cause was pneumonia followed by bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, surgical site infections and infections of other sites.
In conclusion it can be said that HAIs in hospitals are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States. The method described for estimating the number of HAIs was based on the prevailing data at the national level. However, the result shows the greater amount of effort is needed to minimize the burden of nosocomial infections. The preventive measures should be reinforced and surveillance measures should be heightened to prevent these Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) which have turned into a great public health burden.