Infections From Hospitals Less Prevalent, But Still A Problem In California

Mar 20, 2015

Scanning electron micrograph of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA, brown) surrounded by cellular debris. MRSA resists treatment with many antibiotics.
Credit NIAID

It’s estimated that one in 25 hospital patients will contract an infection they didn’t walk in with during their hospital care. But according to a new report from the California Department of Public Health, those types of infections are becoming less common in state hospitals. 

California hospitals reported nearly 19,000 Healthcare Associated Infections – or HAIs – in 2013. According to the California Department of Public Health, that’s a number that’s lower than both national and state baselines. 

The new report looked at five types of HAIs. It showed that 61 state hospitals significantly reduced HAIs with only one type of infection – Clostridium difficile – increasing. 

Most North State hospitals had HAI rates comparable to the state average. There were only a few exceptions with three hospitals seeing significantly high incidence of Clostridium difficile including Butte County hospitals: Oroville and Feather River and Fremont Rideout Health Group in Yuba and Sutter counties. Oroville Hospital also had a significantly high incidence of central line-associated bloodstream infections. Fremont-Rideout Health Group also saw high rates of blood infections from methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA, as well as vancomycin-resistant enterococcus and surgical site infections. 

CDPH says overall the report shows California hospitals have made progress in HAI reduction, but even so the infections continue to be a significant public health risk. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion cites HAIs as being among the leading causes of preventable deaths in the United States.

You can see HAI data for all California hospitals on this interactive map.