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For Release:
June 04, 2010

Poonam Alaigh, MD, MSHCPM, FACP

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New Jersey Lower than Expected in One Type of Healthcare-Associated Infection


New Jersey hospitals had an 18 percent lower-than-expected rate of one type of healthcare-associated infection in the first six months of 2009, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) first state-specific report on infections linked to health care.


Later this year, the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services will publish a full year of 2009 data on central-line associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) – the infection covered in the CDC report – that will list CLABSI rates by hospital.  The data will be published in the state’s next Hospital Performance Report, which will be released in the fall, said Health and Senior Services Commissioner, Dr. Poonam Alaigh.


          “The CDC data indicate that New Jersey is making progress against these potentially deadly and costly infections,” Dr. Alaigh said.  “However, the Hospital Performance Report will provide a more complete picture of where the state and each hospital stand as well as the work ahead of us to make health care as safe as possible.”


          Bloodstream infections are serious complications resulting from central line use.  Central lines are catheters or tubes that are inserted into a vein, and can be used to administer medication or fluids or to conduct certain medical tests.


          New Jersey is one of only 17 states in CDC’s First State-Specific Healthcare-Associated Infections Summary Data Report ( with a mandate to report CLABSI.  Nationwide, the CLABSI rate has been declining, the report said.


According to the report, New Jersey’s predicted (expected) number of CLABSIs for the first half of 2009 was about 223, when the actual observed number of cases was 183 – which is 18 percent lower than expected.


          As a result of a state law, New Jersey’s hospitals have been reporting data on CLABSI as well as on infections related to abdominal hysterectomy and cardiac surgery since January 2009.  Data on abdominal hysterectomy and cardiac surgery infections will be available in 2011.


          The New Jersey law requires ambulatory care facilities to start reporting healthcare-associated infections as of July 1 of next year.


New Jersey is also a leader in healthcare-associated infection legislation as one of only three states collecting data specific to MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) as a result of a separate law.  DHSS will report preliminary MRSA data later this year.


          New Jersey has been working with hospitals and the New Jersey Hospital Association to combat infections, particularly through a collaborative effort that focused on reducing infections in hospital intensive care units.


DHSS has developed a state plan to reduce healthcare-associated infections by developing HAI program infrastructure; through surveillance, detection, reporting and response; through prevention activities; and through evaluation, oversight and communication.  The plan is available on the CDC web site at:


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