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Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Communicable  Diseases Subjects A-Z



Sexually Transmitted Diseases


Disease Reporting

HAI Prevention

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) "HAI" logo

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The Wisconsin Division of Public Health (DPH) was awarded a two year grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, to enhance HAI prevention efforts in the state by establishing a public health approach to HAI prevention. Grant funding was used to design strategies to reduce blood infections associated with catheters in large veins or arteries (CLABSI), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections acquired during hospitalizations and infections at the site of hip and knee surgery.


General information

DPH has developed specific goals to reduce HAIs including: 

  • Improving monitoring for HAIs by enrolling more Wisconsin hospitals into the CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) surveillance database 
  • Improving laboratory testing and information sharing on bacteria causing HAIs such as MRSA and other emerging pathogens
  • Supporting/augmenting current HAI prevention activities of partners
    (Wisconsin Hospital Association CLABSI reduction and MetaStar MRSA reduction)
    as well as initiate new hospital HAI prevention activities
  • Developing statewide quality measures and quality improvement innovations
  • Supporting more information sharing and consumer choice
  • Helping patients and their families play a role in HAI prevention

Who is at risk for HAIs?
HAIs occur in all settings of care and are associated with a variety of causes including medical devices, such as catheters and ventilators, complications following a surgical procedure, transmission between patients and healthcare workers, or the result of antibiotic overuse. In hospitals they are significant cause of morbidity and mortality.

Scope of the problem
HAIs are among the leading causes of death in the United States, accounting for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 associated deaths in 2002. In addition the financial burden attributable to these infections is staggering. It is estimated that HAIs incur $28 to $33 billion in excess healthcare costs nationwide each year.

Most common types of infections

  • Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI)
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI)
  • Ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP)
  • Surgical site infections (SSI)

What you can do to prevent HAIs

Information for patients

Information for health professionals

Wisconsin CRE (carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) prevention policies and procedures

National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) resources

NHSN surveillance worksheets

  • Hospitals
    • Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI) (PDF, 100 KB) 
    • Central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI
    • Multi-drug resistant organisms / C. difficile infections (MDRO/CDI) (PDF, 176 KB) 
    • Multi-drug resistant organisms / C. difficile infections (MDRO/CDI
    • Surgical site infections (SSI) (PDF, 110 KB)
    • Surgical site infections (SSI
    • Urinary tract infections (UTI) (PDF, 112 KB)
    • Urinary tract infections (UTI
  • Nursing homes (LTCF - long-term care facilities)

Additional information:


Wisconsin Local Health Departments - Regional offices - Tribal agencies

Gwen Borlaug, Infection Control Epidemiologist
Wisconsin Division of Public Health 
Bureau of Communicable Diseases and Emergency Response
(Phone 608-267-7711)  (Fax 608-261-4976)

Last Revised: July 23, 2014