What is a Healthcare Associated Infection

What is a Healthcare Associated Infection?

An infection occurs when a germ (bacterium or virus), enters into the body and attacks or causes damage to the body or part of the body. Some infections can reach the blood stream and become generalised throughout the body. This is known as a bacteraemia or bloodstream infection.

Healthcare associated infections (HCAI) are infections that develop as a direct result of medical or surgical treatment or contact in a healthcare setting. They can occur in hospitals and in health or social care settings in the community and can affect both patients and healthcare workers.

What are the main types of HCAI?

HCAI is a catch-all term for a wide range of infections. The most well known HCAIs include those caused by meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), meticillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA), Clostridium difficile (C.difficile) and Escherichia coli (E.Coli), but there are others we need to be aware of.

For further information, visit the HPA and other websites lisited below:

Healthcare Protection Agency – http://www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAweb&Page&HPAwebAutoListName/Page/1191942126522

Staphylococcus aureus – http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/StaphylococcusAureus/

Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) – http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/ClostridiumDifficile/

Escherichia coli – http://www.hpa.org.uk/Topics/InfectiousDiseases/InfectionsAZ/EscherichiaColi/GeneralInformation/

Infection Prevention Society – http://www.ips.uk.net/

National Patient Safety Agency – http://www.npsa.nhs.uk/cleanyourhands/

NHS Choices – http://www.nhs.uk

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