June 14, 2023

Continued increases in HAIs during second year of COVID-19

Editor's Note

This study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, finds that standardized infection ratios (SIRs) were significantly higher during COVID-19 than during the prepandemic period, and the incidence of healthcare associated infections (HAIs) was elevated during periods of high COVID-19 hospitalizations.

The analysis revealed elevated incidence of central-line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), ventilator-associated events (VAEs), and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia infections during 2021, especially during the first and third quarters of the year.

During the first quarter of 2021, all-time highs of COVID-19-associated hospitalizations were recorded. Large increases were noted in CLABSIs, VAEs, and MRSA bacteremia infections, but the increase in CAUTIs was modest.

During the second quarter of 2021, there were improvements in CLABSI, CAUTI, VAE, and MRSA bacteremia SIRs, coincident with the large reduction in COVID-19 hospitalizations.

During the third quarter of 2021, however, when the Delta variant emerged, there again were dramatic increases in SIRs. Changes in most SIRs were driven by changes in the number of HAIs.

The findings underscore the continued challenges experienced in infection prevention and the resilient approaches that are needed to reduce HAIs in 2022 and beyond, the researchers say.


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