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Healthcare-Associated Infections in Wisconsin

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections that occur while receiving health care. Patients who have surgical procedures and those with medical devices, such as central lines and urinary catheters are at risk of developing HAIs. It is also possible to get an infection from multidrug-resistant organisms in various health care settings. If you are a health care or public health professional, patient, or are caring for someone after a procedure, there are steps you can take to prevent HAIs.

Below you can find more information for patients and health professionals as well as information on the different types of HAIs.

Patients and Families

Learn the steps that patients and their families can take to prevent HAIs.

Health Professionals

Find information for health care and public health professionals on HAIs, prevention measures, and educational resources.



See charts with HAI data.

HAI Prevention Program Contacts

Find contact information for program staff and infection preventionists.

Types of HAIs

A catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary tract that is caused by a tube (urinary catheter) that is placed to drain urine from the bladder. Bacteria may travel along a urinary catheter and cause an infection in the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys. CAUTIs are the most common type of HAI. Among urinary tract infections acquired in health care settings, 75% are associated with a urinary catheter. More information on CAUTIs can be found on the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Catheter-associated Urinary Tract Infection page.

A central line-associated bloodstream infection (CLABSI) is an infection in the bloodstream that is caused when bacteria or other organisms travel along a tube, also called a central line, that is placed into a major vein to draw blood or give medication. CLABSIs are a serious type of infection and a major cause of healthcare-associated illness and death. More information on CLABSIs can be found on the CDC Central Line-associated Bloodstream Infection page.

Clostridioides difficile (C. difficile) is a bacteria, specifically a bacterium, that is ingested can cause severe diarrhea and in more severe cases inflammation of the colon. C. difficile is estimated to cause almost half a million infections in the United States each year. Most cases of C. difficile occur after using antibiotics. Other risk factors including being over the age of 65, or recently having a prolonged stay in a health care setting, such as a hospital or long-term care facility. For more information, please visit our Clostridioides difficile page.

Multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) are organisms, that are resistant to the antibiotics or other drugs that are meant to control them. Since they are resistant to antibiotics, MDROs can be very difficult to treat. MDROs are commonly transmitted in health care settings, such as hospitals and long-term care facilities. There are many different MDROs, and some are of more concern than others. For specific information about the below MDROs, please visit the page for each organism.

Surgical site infections (SSIs) are infections that occur after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Some SSIs only involve the skin, but others more serious infections can involve tissues under the skin, organs, or implanted materials (such a knee or hip replacement). Many SSIs occur within 30 days after the surgery. SSIs are the second most common type of HAI and often require a longer hospital stay. For more information, please visit our Surgical Site Infection Prevention page.

Last revised October 4, 2023