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Characterising health care-associated bloodstream infections in public hospitals in Queensland, 2008–2012

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Health care-associated bloodstream infections (HA-BSIs) are a major threat to patient safety and impose substantial burdens on health care systems. It has been estimated that for every 100 hospital admissions there are two nosocomial BSIs.1 Crude mortality rates for patients with hospital-acquired BSIs were as high as 30% in the late 1990s,2,3 and were still about 15% in recent years.4 Survivors of BSIs can experience long term reductions in health.2 HA-BSIs are associated with extended lengths of hospital stay: an extra 10 days for central line-associated BSIs (CLABSIs)5 and 12 days for Staphylococcus aureus BSIs.4

In Australia, all hospitals are required to report S. aureus BSI rates to the National Health Performance Authority (NHPA),6 and intensive care units (ICUs) can voluntarily participate in the national CLABSI surveillance program of the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society.7 The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has led national initiatives for preventing and controlling health care-associated infections, through new accreditation standards and initiatives in areas…