Antibiotic-resistant bacteria more prevalent in device-related infections

November 25, 2019

NEW YORK (November 25, 2019) -- Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) related to the use of medical devices are more likely to be antibiotic resistant than HAIs that result from surgical procedures, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) published today in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology, the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America.

"Combating antimicrobial resistance is a top clinical and public health priority in the United States," said Lindsey Weiner-Lastinger, MPH, an epidemiologist at the CDC. "These data show that the threat of exposure to bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics extends across the nation. The data also serve as an urgent call for healthcare facilities and public health agencies to intensify their efforts to prevent the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance."

The report, which summarizes data from 5,626 facilities from 2015 to 2017, shows that resistance was consistently higher for device-associated HAIs than for the same bacteria identified after surgical procedures. Devices studied were not permanent implants but rather devices used for limited time in a hospital setting such as central lines, ventilators, and urinary catheters. For instance, 48 percent of tested Staphylococcus aureus isolated from device-associated infections were methicillin resistant (MRSA), compared to 41 percent among those isolated from surgical site infections; and 82 percent of tested device-associated Enterococcus faecium bacteria were resistant to vancomycin (VRE) compared to 55 percent among surgical site infections.

Researchers note that germs in adult and pediatric facilities varied by infection type and care location. The most common HAI bacteria among adult patients were Escherichia coli (18%), Staphylococcus aureus (12%) and Klebsiella (9%). A companion report on pediatric healthcare-associated infections, with data from 2,454 facilities, found the most prevalent pathogens among pediatric patients were Staphylococcus aureus (15%), Escherichia coli (12%), and coagulase-negative staphylococci (12%).

The data also show that bacteria associated with long-term acute care hospitals are more likely to be antibiotic resistant than those acquired in short-stay acute care hospitals; and HAIs in adult healthcare settings are more likely to be resistant than those in pediatrics.

NHSN collects and tracks data to identify problem areas in facilities, states, regions, and the nation, and to help measure the progress of prevention efforts.

Lastinger said the increasing availability of clinical and laboratory data in electronic form provides new opportunities to quickly identify resistance to antibiotic therapies and to inform antibiotic stewardship programs. Appropriate resources should be allocated to ensure proper infection prevention methods of devices and the environment across the healthcare continuum.
Lindsey Weiner-Lastinger, Sheila Abner, Jonathan Edwards, Alexander Kallen, Maria Karlsson, Shelley Magill, Daniel Pollock, Isaac See, Minn Soe, Maroya Walters, Margaret Dudeck. "Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens Associated with Adult Healthcare-Associated Infections: Summary of Data Reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network, 2015-2017." Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. Web (November 25, 2019).

Lindsey Weiner-Lastinger, Sheila Abner, Andrea Benin, Jonathan Edwards, Alexander Kallen, Maria Karlsson, Shelley Magill, Daniel Pollock, Isaac See, Minn Soe, Maroya Walters, Margaret Dudeck. "Antimicrobial-Resistant Pathogens Associated with Pediatric Healthcare-Associated Infections: Summary of Data Reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network, 2015-2017." Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. Web (November 25, 2019).

About ICHE

Published through a partnership between the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and Cambridge University Press, Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology provides original, peer reviewed scientific articles for anyone involved with an infection control or epidemiology program in a hospital or healthcare facility. ICHE is ranked 41st out of 89 Infectious Disease Journals in the latest Web of Knowledge Journal Citation Reports from Thomson Reuters.

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) is a professional society representing more than 2,000 physicians and other healthcare professionals around the world who possess expertise and passion for healthcare epidemiology, infection prevention, and antimicrobial stewardship. The society's work improves public health by establishing infection-prevention measures and supporting antibiotic stewardship among healthcare providers, hospitals, and health systems. This is accomplished by leading research studies, translating research into clinical practice, developing evidence-based policies, optimizing antibiotic stewardship, and advancing the field of healthcare epidemiology. SHEA and its members strive to improve patient outcomes and create a safer, healthier future for all. Visit SHEA online at, and @SHEA_Epi.

About Cambridge University Press

Cambridge University Press is part of the University of Cambridge. It furthers the University's mission by disseminating knowledge in the pursuit of education, learning and research at the highest international levels of excellence. Its extensive peer-reviewed publishing lists comprise 45,000 titles covering academic research, professional development, over 400 research journals, school-level education, English language teaching and bible publishing. Playing a leading role in today's international market place, Cambridge University Press has over 50 offices around the globe, and it distributes its products to nearly every country in the world.

For further information about Cambridge University Press, visit

Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

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