Hospital Acquired Infections


What is it?

An infection occurring in a patient during the process of care in a hospital or other health facility, which was not present at the time of admission.

What causes it?

Harmful bacteria and viruses that exist on shared surfaces that can exist on them for >3 months. They are easily spread through the air, direct and indirect contact.

Risk for Canadians

Canada has the worst rate of hospital acquired infections in the developed world. It is the fourth leading cause of death in Canada. More than 250,000 patients contract a hospital acquired infection every year. Of those patients, 8,000-20,000 die every year. It costs our health care system more than$1 billion every year. 80% of the spread of hospital-acquired infections are spread by patients, visitors, and most importantly health care workers.

More than 50% of hospital acquired infections are caused by bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Clostridium Difficille mortality rates have more than tripled in Canada since 1997. Staphylococcus Aureus infection mortality rates have increased by more than 1000% since 1995. 

Global Risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) has claimed that antimicrobial resistance is the largest threat to global health and is anticipated to have 10 million deaths by the year 2050.