Health care-associated infections (HAIs) are infections people often acquire while they are receiving health care for another condition. HAIs can happen in any health care facility, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centres, end-stage renal disease facilities and long-term care facilities. HAIs can be caused by bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other, less common pathogens.
HAIs are a significant cause of illness and death—and they can have devastating emotional, financial and medical consequences. At any given time, about 1 in 25 inpatients have an infection related to hospital care. These infections lead to the loss of tens of thousands of lives. It costs the US health care system billions of dollars each year.