WASHINGTON, March 26 (Xinhua) -- About one in 25 U.S. patients has at least one infection contracted during the course of their hospital care, according to a study released Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The study, an update to a previous CDC estimate of 1.7 million healthcare-associated infections a year, estimated that there were 648,000 patients with 721,800 health care-associated infections in U.S. acute care hospitals in 2011.
Meanwhile, about 75,000 patients with healthcare-associated infections died during their hospitalizations, the CDC said.
"Although there has been some progress, today and every day, more than 200 Americans with healthcare-associated infections will die during their hospital stay," CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.
The CDC findings, published in the U.S. journal New England Journal of Medicine, used 2011 data from 183 U.S. hospitals to estimate the burden of a wide range of infections in hospital patients.
Of the 11,282 patients involved, 452, or about four percent, had one or more health care-associated infections.
Of the infections, the most common types were pneumonia (22 percent), surgical site infections (22 percent), gastrointestinal infections (17 percent), urinary tract infections (13 percent), and bloodstream infections (10 percent).
The most common germs causing healthcare-associated infections were C. difficile (12 percent), Staphylococcus aureus (11 percent), Klebsiella (10 percent), E. coli (9 percent), Enterococcus (9 percent), and Pseudomonas (7 percent).
Klebsiella and E. coli are members of the Enterobacteriaceae bacteria family, which has become increasingly resistant to last- resort antibiotics known as carbapenems, the CDC said.
The results indicated that progress has been made in the effort to eliminate infections that commonly threaten U.S. hospital patients in the past decades, but more work is needed to improve patient safety, said the agency.
Frieden advised health care workers who want the best for their patients to follow standard infection control practices every time to help ensure their patients' safety. "The most advanced medical care won't work if clinicians don't prevent infections through basic things such as regular hand hygiene," he said.