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Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infection in Australian hospitals: findings from a Victorian surveillance system

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Health care-associated (HA) infections are an important measure of quality of care in health care facilities. Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream (SAB) infections contribute to morbidity, mortality, and health care expenditure, and are frequently regarded as preventable.1

Standardised surveillance strategies for SAB infections have been effectively implemented internationally.2,3 In 2008, the Australian Health Ministers’ Conference endorsed that all Australian hospitals should establish HA infection surveillance, including reporting of SAB infections through relevant jurisdictions to a national data repository.

The Victorian Healthcare Associated Infection Surveillance System (VICNISS) SAB infection surveillance module was developed to enable collection of relevant laboratory and clinical data by health care workers trained in infectious diseases or infection prevention for community and HA-SAB infection events in the state of Victoria, including methicillin-sensitive and methicillin-resistant isolates.

The Victorian Department of Health mandated participation by Victorian public hospitals at the commencement of the program. VICNISS provided education to participating hospitals and developed a guide to facilitate standardised case review. Private health care facilities participated on…