Healthcare-Associated Infections

Housekeeping staff cleaning hospital room.

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections acquired during the course of receiving medical care. Patients can get HAI from routine care, from surgery, as a complication from the use of medical devices, or from the overuse of antibiotics. Some of these germs do not respond to drugs such as antibiotics making them dangerous for all people, but especially for those undergoing medical treatment.

To protect patients, more work needs to be done. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends three strategies that health care providers should take with every patient, every time, to prevent HAIs and stop the spread of antibiotic resistance:

  • Prevent the spread of bacteria between patients.
  • Prevent infections related to surgery and/or catheters.
  • Improve antibiotic use.

The good news is that CDC has identified HAIs as a Winnable Battle – a public health priority with large-scale impacts on health and known effective strategies to address it.

Preventing Healthcare-associated infections in Vermont

The Department of Health has a state HAI Plan to guide HAI prevention efforts. These include:

In This Section

Vermont aims to reduce the transmission of multidrug-resistant organisms between healthcare facilities.

Staphylococcus aureus, also known as staph, is a very common bacterium that can live on the skin or in the noses of healthy people.

Patients with compromised immune systems are at a much higher risk for a CRE infection.

The elderly and people who require long term use of antibiotics are at a higher risk of becoming infected with C. diff.

Antibiotics are drugs that kill bacteria, they do not fight viral infections like the common cold and the flu.

Unsafe injection practices can be a serious threat to a patient’s health.