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Hospital-Stay Infections, Still Bad? Try 650K a Year

Infection rate is down, but 200 Americans still die daily
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2014 5:25 PM CDT

(Newser) – About 4% of US hospital patients acquire an infection while hospitalized, which added up to 648,000 people in 2011—75,000 of whom died, the Washington Post reports. The most common infections, according to a CDC survey: pneumonia (22%), surgical site injections (22%), and gastrointestinal infections (17%). Hospitals have curbed the problem somewhat, but throw in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and hospital patients have something to worry about. "Today and every day, more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay," said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

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A second CDC report included some good news—that infections from "central lines" inserted in major blood vessels have dropped 44% since 2008, and 10 surgical procedures saw a 20% drop, Medical News Today reports. What's more, President Obama's proposed 2015 budget allots money to lower antibiotic resistance, and 25 drug-makers agreed today to new guidelines prohibiting the use of antibiotics to beef up livestock, Reuters reports. But until hospitals become safer, what can patients do? An advocate advises people to insist that care-givers—even senior doctors—remain "compulsive" about hand hygiene. (Read more infection stories.)

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