TOPEKA, Kan. - The Kansas Department of Health and Environment recently received a grant of $576,000 from the Centers for Disease Control to work toward eliminating infections patients receive while being cared for in our hospitals and other facilities such as doctors' offices and nursing homes. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allotted a total of $40 Million to help states combat this growing problem.
This grant is particularly valuable as many infections acquired in this manner are increasingly resistant to conventional antibiotic therapy. Examples of these pathogens are vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Clostridium difficlile (C-diff). These problematic infections can occur while patients have long-term indwelling urinary catheters, and may also affect surgical incisions post-operatively. These super bugs are particularly dangerous when the infection advances and enters the blood stream, potentially causing septic shock and death if prompt, aggressive action isn't taken. Appropriate isolation practices regarding infected patients and scrupulous hand hygiene are key in mitigating risks in health care settings.
What KDHE will do with these dollars is evaluate existing prevention programs, provide increased monitoring and develop a bolstered, comprehensive plan to protect Kansans from these infections.
"Healthcare-associated infections are a serious public health concern and are being increasingly recognized as contributing significantly to health care costs," said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, State Health Officer and Director of Health for KDHE.
The CDC's data indicates that 1.7 million Americans/year get infections while receiving medical treatment, and 99,000 of those patients die. The cost of treating health care acquired infections is estimated at $30 billion annually.