Rates of four of the six hospital-associated infections tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) increased in 2021, according to a new report. When compared with 2020, the rates of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs) increased 7%, catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) rose 5%, ventilator-associated events (VAEs) increased 12%, while the rates of hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bloodstream events increased 14%.

Overall, the rate of surgical site infections (SSIs) remained largely unchanged for the 10 procedures tracked by the CDC, although the rate for abdominal hysterectomy SSIs increased 11%. The bright spot was a 3% decrease in Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) events.

The 2021 annual National and State Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAI) Progress Report provides a look at specific HAIs across four healthcare settings: acute care hospitals (ACHs), critical access hospitals (CAHs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), and long-term acute care hospitals (LTACHs). It includes infection-specific standardized infection ratios (SIRs), which measure progress in reducing HAIs compared to the 2015 baseline time period. The SIR is the ratio of the observed number of infections (events) to the number of predicted infections (events) for a summarized time period.

In statewide numbers, 27 states performed better than the 2021 national SIR on at least two infection types, while 30 states performed worse on two or more infection types.

The CDC says that around one in 31 US patients and one in 43 nursing home residents contracts an infection associated with their healthcare each day. These numbers illustrate the need to improve patient care practices in US hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Although progress has been made, continued increases show that more needs to be done to prevent HAIs.

For more detailed information and analysis, see the CDC‘s HAI progress report page.