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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced an infection control initiative to reduce cases of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The Joint Commission and four other prominent healthcare organizations have joined to support practical strategies to help prevent catheter- associated urinary tract infections, surgical site infections, central line-associated bloodstream infections, ventilator-associated pneumonia, MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) infections, and Clostridium difficile infections.


Besides spelling out best practices, the guidelines provide information on outmoded measures to be avoided. For example, the following approaches should not be routinely used to prevent central line-associated infections.


* Don't use antimicrobial prophylaxis for short-term or tunneled catheter insertion or while a catheter is in place.

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* Don't routinely replace central venous or arterial catheters.


* Don't routinely use positive-pressure needleless connectors with mechanical valves before a thorough assessment of risks, benefits, and education regarding proper use.



Focused on implementation, the guidelines highlight a set of basic HAI prevention strategies, including special approaches for use in locations or patient populations where infections haven't been controlled by best practices. The strength of each recommendation and the quality of evidence behind it are also provided in the guidelines. For more information, visit


Source: Yokoe DS, Mermel LA, Anderson DJ, et al. A compendium of strategies to prevent healthcare-associated infections in acute care hospitals. Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2008;29:S12-S21.