New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show significant declines in healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) at US acute care hospitals in 2022.
According to the CDC's 2022 National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections Progress Report, which includes data from more than 38,000 US healthcare facilities, acute care hospitals saw a 19% decrease in ventilator-associated events from 2021 to 2022, a 16% decrease in hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia, a 12% decrease in catheter-associated urinary tract infections, a 9% decrease in central line–associated bloodstream infections, and a 3% decrease in hospital-onset Clostridioides difficile (CDI) infections.
On the state level, 31 states performed better on at least 2 infections types in 2022 compared with 2021, 17 saw improvements in at least 3 infection types, and 6 on at least 4 HAIs.
Substantial progress after pandemic-related setbacks
The declines follow 2 years in which HAIs climbed sharply at US acute care hospitals, driven primarily by the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on hospital staffing and infection prevention and control efforts. Some hospitals had to suspend infection prevention and control programs entirely,
The president of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America said the decline in HAIs in 2022 is a sign that hospitals have been able to shift their focus back to HAI prevention.
"Under the leadership of healthcare epidemiologists and infection preventionists, acute care facilities have made substantial progress in shifting attention that was understandably focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic back to broader infection prevention initiatives that protect our patients from a wide range of infections," Deborah Yokoe, MD, MPH, said in a statement emailed to reporters.
But the CDC report showed little progress was made in reducing HAIs in other US healthcare settings, which include inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), critical access hospitals, and long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs). While IRFs saw a 9% decline in hospital-onset CDI cases, LTACHs saw no changes in standardized infection ratios for any HAI in 2022.
"While much progress has been made, more needs to be done to prevent healthcare-associated infections in a variety of settings," the CDC said.
Acute care facilities have made substantial progress in shifting attention that was understandably focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic back to broader infection prevention initiatives.