Healthcare-Associated Infections

The Problem

At any given time, about 1 in every 20 hospitalized patients has an infection caused by medical care.1

More about the problem

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections that patients acquire while receiving health care for other conditions. These infections cost the US healthcare system billions of dollars each year and lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives.

CDC recommends strategies for surveillance, prevention, and control of HAIs and antimicrobial resistance wherever health care is provided, including hospitals, ambulatory care facilities, and long-term care facilities. CDC works closely with states to implement these recommendations.

The Prevention Status Reports highlight—for all 50 states and the District of Columbia—the status of a key practice that state health departments can use to reduce HAIs:

State health departments are encouraged to also engage in other practices that will provide actionable HAI data and lead to expanded HAI prevention. These include 1) state health departments validating data sent to CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN), ideally including data on central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs); catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs); and surgical site infections (SSIs); and 2) working with CDC and other partners using NHSN data to target facilities and units most in need of consultation to prevent HAIs and antimicrobial resistance.

Policies & Practices

State health department participation in statewide HAI prevention efforts

State health departments play a critical role in promoting HAI prevention through collaborative prevention activities. These activities allow states to identify infections, implement evidence-based prevention strategies, share experiences among facilities, and provide outcome measurement and feedback. State health departments are uniquely positioned to maximize HAI prevention efforts by working across the healthcare system to facilitate statewide HAI prevention activities.2-4

CDC recommends that state health departments participate in or lead broad prevention collaboratives addressing one or more of the following types of HAIs: CLABSIs, SSIs, CAUTIs, ventilator-associated pneumonia, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and C. difficile.5-6

Status of state health department participation in statewide HAI prevention efforts, United States (2013)

This bar graph shows that in 50 states and teh District of Columbia, the health department led or particpated in a broad prvention collaborative addressing at least one HAI.

Prevention Status Reports: Healthcare-Associated Infections, 2013

The files below are PDFs ranging in size from 100K to 500K. Adobe PDF document


  1. CDC. Healthcare-Associated Infections: The Burden.
  2. CDC. Oregon Creates a Statewide Network to Limit the Spread of Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae.pdf icon[PDF – 540KB] 2013.
  3. CDC. Preventing C. difficile in Massachusetts Hospitals with a Mixed-Methods Learning Collaborative.pdf icon[PDF – 546KB] 2013.
  4. CDC. Illinois Hospitals Collaborate to Reduce Clostridium difficile Infections.pdf icon[PDF – 541KB] 2012.
  5. CDC. State-based HAI Prevention: Funding Programs. Updated Mar 2012.
  6. US Department of Health and Human Services. National Action Plan to Prevent Health Care-Associated Infections: Road Map to Eliminationexternal icon. Updated Apr 2012.
Page last reviewed: January 21, 2014