Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections people get while they are receiving health care for another condition. HAIs can happen in any health care facility, including hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, end-stage renal disease facilities, and long-term care facilities. Bacteria, fungi, viruses, or other, less common pathogens can cause HAIs.
HAIs are a significant cause of illness and death — and they can have serious emotional, financial, and medical consequences. At any given time, about 1 in 31 inpatients have an infection related to hospital care. These infections lead to tens of thousands of deaths and cost the U.S. health care system billions of dollars each year.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has identified the reduction of HAIs as an Agency Priority Goal. HHS is committed to reducing the national rate of HAIs.