Approximately 4 100 000 patients are estimated to acquire a healthcare-associated infection in the EU each year. The number of deaths occurring as a direct consequence of these infections is estimated to be at least 37 000 and these infections are thought to contribute to an additional 110 000 deaths each year.
The most frequent infections are urinary tract infections, followed by respiratory tract infections, infections after surgery, bloodstream infections, and others (including diarrhoea due to Clostridium difficile). Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is isolated in approximately 5% of all healthcare-associated infections.
Approximately 20–30% of healthcare-associated infections are considered to be preventable by intensive hygiene and control programmes.