CDC awards grants to limit infections in healthcare settings

The Centers for Disease Control recently awarded $10 million from its Prevention Epicenter grant program to support the research of five academic medical centers developing and testing new approaches to limit infections in healthcare settings.

"The Prevention Epicenter program discovers solutions and refines them so they can work to prevent infections for all healthcare settings," John Jernigan, director of CDC's Office of HAI Prevention Research and Evaluation, said, according to the CDC. "During the past decade, some of our biggest breakthroughs in health care infection prevention have been rooted in research of the Prevention Epicenter program, and we look forward to future advances."

The CDC estimates that one out of every 20 patients will acquire an infection while in the hospital as they are treated for other conditions. Healthcare-associated infections are becoming more critical as drug-resistant infections and new pathogens become more common in healthcare settings, according to the CDC.

"Discoveries through the CDC Prevention Epicenter program have had great impact on decreasing healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs" CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden said, according to the CDC. "With prevention epicenters, we can expand our current knowledge and save even more lives as we work toward our goal of eliminating HAIs."

Included in the new approaches are the use of combinations of bleach and ultraviolet light to clean hospital rooms, new tests to determine who needs antibiotics, methods to determine when medical devices are on the verge of causing infections and treating patients with living microorganisms that are harmless to patients but that compete with harmful germs.