For Immediate Release
October 14, 2011

KDHE Office of Communications
communications@kdheks.gov, 785-296-0461

Governor signs proclamation declaring October 16-22 as International Infection Prevention Week

Topeka - Governor Sam Brownback signed a proclamation declaring Oct. 16-22 as International Infection Prevention Week. The Governor encourages all health care providers in Kansas healthcare facilities to renew their efforts to prevent Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) and to bring attention to the statewide plan to reduce the occurrence of HAIs.

Healthcare-Associated Infections are infections that patients acquire during the course of receiving treatment for other conditions within a healthcare setting. 
HAIs are major clinical and public health problems occurring in all healthcare settings,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer.  “Fortunately, Kansas has a robust network of skilled Infection Preventionists, a committed hospital association and other medical professionals, working tirelessly to protect patient safety.  We honor them and their important work this week.”

HAIs are a major cause of morbidity, mortality and excess cost in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated five to 10 percent of all hospital admissions are complicated by HAIs.  Approximately 1.7 million infections and nearly 100,000 deaths are attributable to HAIs each year.  The financial burden of these infections has been estimated at $33 billion annually, a staggering figure at a time when our economy is suffering and demands on the healthcare system are increasing.

With assistance from a diverse multidisciplinary Advisory Group, comprised of stakeholders with expertise in infection prevention, KDHE has developed a statewide plan to quantify and reduce the occurrence of HAIs.  The Healthcare-Associated Infections Program focuses on supporting HAI surveillance and reporting efforts and promotes adherence to nationally based guidelines and recommendations to reduce the occurrence of HAIs. 

All Kansas hospitals have been asked to voluntarily use the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) database and report data on two of the three priority prevention targets: central line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI), catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI) and Clostridium difficile infections.  Currently 54 facilities, representing more than 70 percent of staffed hospital beds in Kansas, are reporting data which will be reported in aggregate early next year.

“These types of data have never been comprehensively collected in Kansas,” said Joseph Scaletta, KDHE Healthcare-Associated Infections Program Director. “For KDHE, its partners, healthcare facilities and organizations around the state, and nationally, this is an extremely exciting opportunity to quantify the burden of HAIs and will allow us to begin to identify areas where improvements can be made.”