Date: January 1, 2021

Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs)

Hospital Acquired Infection also known as a nosocomial infection, is an infection that is acquired in a hospital or other health care facility. One of the most common wards where HAIs occur is the intensive care unit (ICU), where doctors treat serious diseases. About 1 in 10 of the people admitted to a hospital will contract a HAI.

The most common types of HAIs are:
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • surgical site infections
  • gastroenteritis
  • meningitis
  • pneumonia
The symptoms for these infections may include:
  • discharge from a wound
  • fever
  • cough, shortness of breathing
  • burning with urination or difficulty urinating
  • headache
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
Some key facts:
  • Of every 100 hospitalized patients at any given time, 7 in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire at least one health care-associated infection.
  • While urinary tract infection is the most frequent health care-associated infection in high-income countries, surgical site infection is the leading infection in settings with limited resources, affecting up to one-third of operated patients; this is up to nine times higher than in developed countries
  • In high-income countries, approximately 30% of patients in intensive care units (ICU) are affected by at least one health care-associated infection.
  • In low- and middle-income countries the frequency of ICU-acquired infection is at least 2─3 fold higher than in high-income countries; device-associated infection densities are up to 13 times higher than in the USA.
  • Newborns are at higher risk of acquiring health care-associated infection in developing countries, with infection rates three to 20 times higher than in high-income countries.