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Outbreaks and Patient Notifications

Healthcare-associated infection (HAI) outbreaks and patient notifications are often the result of either failures in infection control practices or contaminated devices or medications.

CDC investigates outbreaks of HAIs and other adverse events that are caused by contaminated devices and drugs, emerging pathogens, or breaches in infection prevention and control practices. This is done in collaboration with public health partners, including state, county, and city health departments, and federal regulatory agencies, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

It is important to note, many healthcare outbreaks are identified and investigated by individual facilities with the assistance of local or state health departments. CDC provides both phone and on-site consultation, as well as laboratory assistance, at the request of state health departments. On-site assistance is typically for outbreaks that cause severe illness, are very large, or unusual (e.g., emerging pathogens). During and after an outbreak, CDC advises the public about what they can do to protect themselves, advises the medical and public health community about how to prevent future infections, and works closely with policymakers, regulatory agencies and industry to learn how to prevent similar outbreaks in the future.

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