Advances in healthcare have given rise to a new type of threat.
Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are the most frequent adverse event in healthcare.1 Prolonged hospital stays, long-term disability, resistance of microorganisms to antimicrobials, significant financial burdens, and death highlight the threat HAIs pose to patients, their families, and to health systems.1
As countries struggle to handle the complexity of HAIs without uniform criteria for diagnosis, these infections have risen sharply, having implications beyond patient health.1,2
- 5-10% of hospitalizations in Europe and North America result in an HAI, costing Europe an estimated €7 billion annually in direct costs as well as 16 million extra days of hospital stay1,3
- >40% of hospitalizations in Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, and Asia result in an HAI, though the financial impact is poorly and variably reported3
While it may be impossible to eliminate HAIs entirely, healthcare facilities can significantly reduce the risk of contracting them.4 Prevention measures include the initiation of surveillance programs and more proactive infection control.