Health care-associated infections (HCAIs) are infections that occur while receiving health care, developed in a hospital or other health care facility that first appear 48 hours or more after hospital admission, or within 30 days after having received health care. Multiple studies indicate that the common types of adverse events affecting hospitalized patients are adverse drug events, HCAIs, and surgical complications. The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention identifies that nearly 1.7 million hospitalized patients annually acquire HCAIs while being treated for other health issues and that more than 98,000 patients (one in 17) die due to these. Several studies suggest that simple infection-control procedures such as cleaning hands with an alcohol-based hand rub can help prevent HCAIs and save lives, reduce morbidity, and minimize health care costs. Routine educational interventions for health care professionals can help change their hand-washing practices to prevent the spread of infection. In support of this, the WHO has produced guidelines to promote hand-washing practices among member countries.
Keywords: catheter-associated urinary tract infections; central line-associated bloodstream infections; health care-associated infections; surgical site infections; ventilator-associated pneumonia.