Infection Prevention
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Welcome to the Infection Prevention webpage!

Infection Prevention is EVERYONE’S responsibility. Our department is here to report specific infection rates; help all UMC staff, doctors, patients and visitors learn how to prevent hospital acquired infections; review the latest literature to ensure the best practices are made policy; and monitor that best practices are followed by all.

The tabs on this webpage show you some of the key infections that we track. Other tabs are here to provide helpful information for preventing the spread of infection. Please print and share the FAQ’s and remember, the best way to stop the spread of infection is Hand Hygiene.



Understanding hospital infection rate reports.

UMC follows CDC/NHSN guidelines in reporting our infection rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network provides a standardized approach for comparison with regional and national infection data, and reliable tracking of our performance over time.
This approach entails the following:

  1. Using a standardized definition for each type of infection.
  2. Defining the patient population at-risk for each specific type of infection.
  3. Employing a consistent systematic surveillance approach to identify infections. This entails review of laboratory reports, antibiotic utilization patterns and the patient medical record. At UMC, trained infection control personnel analyze this information to generate our report.
  4. Report this information as a specific infection rate for the population at-risk expressed as: the number of patients that acquire the specified infection during a defined time period, i.e. per 1000 days in the hospital at-risk for that particular infection.

Example: Consider an infection rate for central venous catheters (CVC) used in some hospitalized patients to provide intravenous medication over a number of days of hospitalization. The population at risk for a hospital acquired infection related to a CVC is those patients that have such a catheter inserted. Their period of risk is each day the catheter is present. For a particular patient with a CVC for 10 days, his/her at-risk period for CVC infection would be the 10 hospital days. If a second patient had a CVC inserted for 15 days, his at-risk period would be 15 days. For these two patients, the total at-risk days for CVC related infections in that particular hospital would be 25 days. If a hospital over a specified time period had 3 patients with CVC related infections, and during this time period had patients with CVC in place for 10,000 days, that hospital would have a CVC infection rate of 3 cases per 10,000 days at risk. Infection rates are usually reported as events per 1000 hospital days at risk, so in this case, the rate would be reported as 0.3 infections /1000 days at-risk.

Rates for surgical procedures that are performed on a particular day are expressed as the number of infections per 100 procedures. For example, the rate for infection following knee replacement might be 0.4 cases per 100 procedures performed during a specified time period.

Why are rates rather than absolute numbers of infections important?
Consider two hospitals that perform knee replacement surgery in patients of similar complexity. Hospital A has 5 infections in 50 procedures; hospital B has 10 infections in 1000 procedures. Just looking at absolute numbers of infections would suggest that hospital A has less of a problem with post-operative infections for this procedure; however, the rate of such infections is actually ten times lower in hospital B (1.0 infections per 100 procedures) compared to hospital A (10 infections per 100 procedures), possibly due to greater experience with this procedure in hospital B.


What is MRSA?
Staphylococcus aureus, or “Staph” is a very common germ that about 1 out of 3 people have in their skin or in their nose. This germ does not cause any problems for most people who have it on their skin, but sometimes it can cause serious infections such as skin or wound infections, pneumonia, or infections of the blood.

Antibiotics are given to kill Staph germs when they cause infections. Some staph are resistant, meaning they cannot be killed by some antibiotics. “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus” or “MRSA” is a type of Staph that is resistant to some of the antibiotics that are often used to treat Staph infections.

C. diff

What is Clostridium difficile?
Clostridium difficile, also known as “C. diff,” is a germ that can cause diarrhea. Most cases of C. diff infection occur in patients taking antibiotics. The most common symptoms of a C. diff infection include:

  • Watery diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Belly pain and tenderness

Central Line

What is a Catheter Associated Blood Stream Infection?
A “central line” or “central catheter” or “central venous catheter” is a tube that is placed into a patient’s large vein, usually in the neck, chest, arm, or groin. The catheter is often used to draw blood, or give fluids or medications. It may be left in place for several weeks. A bloodstream infection can occur when bacteria or other germs travel down a “central line” and enter the blood. If you develop a catheter –associated blood stream infection you may become ill with fevers and chills or the skin around the catheter may become sore and red.

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