Australian Infection Prevention Efforts Having Positive Impact

By Petrina Smith
Thursday, 27 November, 2014

Infection prevention and control efforts in Australia are having a positive impact on patient outcomes and should be embraced even further.
“Infection control is vital for the functioning of our modern health care system. It is one of the most straightforward measures we can introduce, yet it can have profound results,” said Professor Peter Collignon at the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control (ACIPC) annual conference.
Staphylococcus aureus (SAB) is an important cause of healthcare-associated bacteraemia, causing significant illness and death. A recent longitudinal study involving Collignon looked at hospital-onset SAB (HO-SAB) in 132 hospitals in Australia over the past 12 years. The study showed significant reductions in SAB, which coincided with infection prevention and control activities implemented to reduce all hospital- acquired infections (HAIs).
The results, say Collignon, demonstrate that infection control and prevention measures saves lives. “Our study reports a major, sustained, and significant reduction in HO-SAB in a large number of Australian hospitals since 2002. In just ten years the efforts of Infection control practitioners and others have managed to halve rates of HO-SAB and saved over 500 lives,” he said.
All of the hospitals in this study were involved in national initiatives to curb HAIs in addition to local jurisdictional HAI prevention initiatives. This included the development of national surveillance programs for HAIs, national evidence-based guidelines, training and support and the development of national hand hygiene measures.
“We now have ample evidence that simple infection control measures work. The challenge now is to continue with surveillance and make these results widely known so that initiatives are embraced whole-heartedly by all health care professionals, and not just infection prevention and control “We have come a long way in the last 20 years, but there is still more to do,” concluded Collignon.
Professor Collignon is the Inaugural ACIPC Patron.

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