TUESDAY, Sept. 14, 2021 (HealthDay News) — In 2020, there were increases in the incidence of health care-associated infection (HAI), according to a study published online Sept. 2 in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Lindsey M. Weiner-Lastinger, M.P.H., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, and colleagues calculated national- and state-level standardized infection ratios (SIRs) for each quarter in 2020 compared with 2019 to examine the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on HAI incidence. Data were included for central-line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs), catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs), ventilator-associated events (VAEs), select surgical site infections, and Clostridioides difficile and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia laboratory-identified events reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network for 2019 and 2020.

The researchers found that in 2020, there were significant increases in the national SIRs for CLABSI, CAUTI, VAE, and MRSA bacteremia. There was variation noted in the changes in SIR by quarter and state. CLABSI had the largest increase; across all four quarters of 2020, there were significant increases in VAE incidence and ventilator utilization.

“Several factors likely contributed to the increases in several categories of HAI, among them, the fact that hospital leadership and staff were laser-focused on the pandemic,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial. “As a discipline, we need to develop strategies that can be effective in maintaining the highest possible quality of infection prevention and control activities while still supporting a pandemic response.”

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