What are Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs)?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), or “nosocomial” and “hospital” infections, affect patients admitted to a hospital or other health-care facility. These infections are not present or incubating at the time of admission. They also include infections acquired by patients in the hospital or facility that appear after discharge. HAIs are a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in hospital settings. Common types of HAIs include surgical site infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), bloodstream infections, hospital-acquired pneumonia and device-associated infection.
Bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites are recognized as sources of HAIs but bacterial agents are the most common causes of these infections, for example Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and enterococci. There are several risk factors for acquiring HAIs such as the presence of underlying conditions e.g. diabetes, renal failure, malignancies; long hospital admissions; surgical or invasive procedures; the insertion of medical devices, intravenous tubing or artificial joints and the receipt of prior antimicrobial therapy, which may lead to antimicrobial resistance.