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For Immediate Release: June 27, 2007
Contact: CDC Division of Media Relations
Phone: 404-639-3286



CDC Infection Tracking System Now Available to All U.S. Hospitals

A secure, Web-based reporting network that lets facilities track infections associated with health care is now available to all health care facilities in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today.

The National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) provides multiple options for data analysis and more flexibility for sharing information both within and outside a facility -- including the general public, if the facility so chooses.

“Opening this system to all hospitals is a milestone for health protection,” said Dr. Denise Cardo, director of CDC′s Division of Health Care and Quality Promotion. “Information is power, and the information tools that NHSN provides help health care facilities prevent health care-associated infections, including methicillin resistant staph infections (MRSA).”

The system builds upon CDC′s National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance (NNIS) system which, for more than 30 years, was the gold standard system for tracking health care-associated infections. CDC developed the NNIS system to help infection-control professionals and hospitals stay abreast of the rapidly expanding science and practice of infection prevention and control, and better manage episodes of health care-associated infections. The NNIS system had about 300 participating facilities nationwide.

“We expect nearly 1,000 facilities will take advantage, in coming months, of NHSN′s many capabilities,” said Dr. Cardo, “The information collected from this system is essential to develop and maintain effective prevention programs at the local level. This information allows a hospital to track their progress and direct efforts toward patient safety improvement.”

To date, NHSN has more than 600 participants and is utilized in 45 states. CDC is already partnering with dozens of health care facilities, including Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, to use NHSN as a tool to track the prevention of a common infection caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Opening the NHSN to all facilities nationwide will allow even more hospitals to focus on preventing this potentially deadly infection, as well as others.

NHSN has been recently improved to meet the needs of states with mandatory public reporting of health care-associated infections. Public reporting of health care-associated infections is determined on a state by state basis by legislatures. The states of California, Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Virginia have designated NHSN as part of their mechanism to implement legislation requiring hospitals to report healthcare-associated infections.

For more information on NHSN, go to http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/nhsn.html.

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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

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