Healthcare-associated infections/antimicrobial resistance

Mission statement: To prevent healthcare-associated infections and spread of antimicrobial-resistant organisms through collaboration with partners; surveillance and response to outbreaks; data analysis; education; and policy change.

Vision: Use evidence-based practice to serve health care facilities and to be free of preventable healthcare-associated infections.

Patients who receive care in a hospital or other facility may become infected by additional diseases. These are called healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). HAIs can be very serious and are one of the most common complications in healthcare settings. HAIs can lengthen recovery time, increase costs of healthcare, and could lead to serious harm and even death. Any invasive treatment [such as surgery or intravenous catheters (IVs)] can increase the chances of getting an HAI. However, medical staff, patients, and visitors can all make a difference in HAI prevention:

  • Wash your hands often and ask all medical staff to wash or sanitize their hands before treating you.
  • Ask what your medical staff are doing to protect you from getting an HAI.
  • Ask your medical staff how long treatments like an IV or urinary catheter will last.
  • Stay up-to-date on recommended vaccinations.

Antimicrobial resistance (AR) is when the medications we use to treat infections, like antibiotics, are not effective anymore. Instead of the medication killing the germs, the germs defeat the medication and the patient gets sicker. Because of that, if an HAI has antimicrobial resistance, it can be very dangerous. Antimicrobial resistance happens because medications are used incorrectly or in the wrong situations. Here are 2 things you can do to help with the problem:

  • Antibiotics can only treat bacteria. They are not helpful against viruses. Tell your doctor you only want to take antibiotics when they will help you.
  • Take your medications correctly and finish the entire prescription. Even if you feel better, finish the entire recommended dose.

For more information, visit the following websites:

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections patients get during treatment for other conditions in healthcare settings, such as hospitals, long-term care facilities, dialysis centers, and outpatient clinics. HAIs are the most common harmful event experienced by hospitalized patients. According to the CDC, 1 out of every 31 patients in hospitals and 1 out of every 43 residents in nursing homes develop an HAI. HAIs can be devastating to patient health, well-being, and financial costs.

Treatment in healthcare facilities can put you at risk for getting an HAI from organisms that can spread from patient to patient, from unwashed clinical staff hands, and medical equipment that has not been properly cleaned and disinfected. HAIs can be associated with indwelling devices used in medical procedures, such as central venous catheters, urinary catheters, and mechanical ventilators. The longer these devices are in the body, the more likely an infection can happen.

The different types of HAIs are listed below:

Common HAIs

Enteric/GI disease


Project Firstline is a national collaborative led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide infection control training and education to frontline healthcare workers and public health personnel. The Utah Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is proud to partner with Project Firstline.

Contact the HAI/AR team

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