General Public - Healthcare Safety Unit


Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) are infections that patients develop during the course of receiving healthcare. They can happen due to treatment in hospitals and other healthcare facilities including outpatient surgery centers, dialysis centers, long-term care facilities such as nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, and community clinics. They can also occur during the course of treatment at home. HAIs can be caused by a wide variety of common and unusual bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

WhyPeople Are At Risk

People can get infections from hospitals, surgery centers or other places that offer health care. This is a big public health problem. A recent survey showed that 722,000 infections (HAIs) occurred in 2011 in the United States. This means that about 4% of hospital patients ended up with at least one infection. 

All hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities know that stopping HAIs is vital. These HAIs are still a major cause of disease, loss of life and high medical costs. So, laws were put in place to report these infections to the public. There are ways to help manage and prevent them.

Typesof HAIs


Central-Line Associated Bloodstream Infections (CLABSIs): These are infections in the blood that happen when a central line (tube that carries medicine and other treatments into a patient’s body) is used in a patient.  

Clean Hands CountSurgical Site Infections (SSIs): These infections happen in a patient’s body after the patient has surgery.

Catheter-Associated Urinary Tract Infections (CAUTIs): These are infections in a patient’s urinary tract (often referred to as a urinary tract infection or UTI) after a tube is placed in a patient that allows urine to pass out of the patient.


Patient Safety | CDC

Protect Yourself and Your Family | Antibiotic/Antimicrobial Resistance | CDC

Antibiotic Resistant Germs in Hospitals | HAI | CDC

Health Alerts and Advisories

Health Alerts & Advisories | DSHS

Health Alert Network (HAN) | CDC

Antibiotic resistant/Multidrug-Resistant Organism Overview

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Candida auris (C. auris)

Candida auris (C. auris) is an emerging multidrug-resistant yeast that can cause invasive infections and is associated with high mortality. When found in a clinical culture, C. auris can represent an infection or colonization. There is no set clinical case definition for C. auris as it can cause many types of symptoms.

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Clostridioides difficile (C. diff)

Clostridioides difficile (C. diff) is one of the most frequent causes of healthcare associated diarrhea. Prolonged antibiotic use is viewed as the primary risk factor for developing, Clostridioides difficile infections (CDI). People, who have other illnesses or conditions requiring prolonged use of antibiotics, and the elderly, are at greater risk of acquiring this disease. Clostridioides difficile is shed in feces. People can become infected if they touch items or surfaces that are contaminated with feces and then touch their mouth or mucous membranes. Clostridioides difficile can live for long periods on surfaces.

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Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE)

Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacterales (CRE) are a family of germs that are difficult to treat because they have high levels of resistance to antibiotics. Enterobacterales, a normal part of the human gut bacteria, can become carbapenem-resistant. Healthy people usually do not get CRE infections – they usually happen to patients in hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare settings. Patients whose care requires devices like ventilators (breathing machines), urinary (bladder) catheters, or intravenous (vein) catheters, and patients who are taking long courses of certain antibiotics are most at risk for CRE infections.

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Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter (MDRA)

Multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter (MDRA) is a group of bacteria (germs) commonly found in the environment, like in soil and water. While there are many types, the most common cause of infections is Acinetobacter baumannii, which accounts for most Acinetobacter infections in humans. Acinetobacter baumannii can cause infections in the blood, urinary tract, and lungs (pneumonia), or in wounds in other parts of the body. It can also “colonize” or live in a patient without causing infections or symptoms, especially in respiratory secretions (sputum) or open wounds.

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Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccoccus aureus (MRSA)

Methicillin-resistant Staphyloccoccus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics. In the general community, MRSA can cause skin and other infections. In a healthcare setting, such as a hospital or nursing home, MRSA can cause severe problems such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia and surgical site infections.

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Vancomycin-intermediate and Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VISA /VRSA)

Vancomycin-intermediate and Vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VISA /VRSA) are specific types of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria. Persons who develop this type of staph infection may have underlying health conditions (such as diabetes and kidney disease), tubes going into their bodies (such as catheters), previous infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and recent exposure to vancomycin and other antimicrobial agents.

For more details, please visit the CDC, Antibiotic Resistance website.