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Mahi haumaru mō te HA-SAB

Healthcare-associated S. aureus bacteraemia (HA-SAB)

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is the most common cause of healthcare associated bacteraemia in Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere.

Petri dish with Staphylococcus aureusStaphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is the most common cause of healthcare associated bacteraemia in Aotearoa New Zealand and elsewhere. In health care settings, S aureus causes an infection when it enters the bloodstream by means of an existing infection or wound, or during a procedure involving penetration of the skin, such as surgery or the insertion of an intravascular or invasive medical device.

Individuals who develop healthcare-associated S. aureus bacteraemia (HA-SAB) are more likely to have medical complications, need complex treatment and stay longer in hospital. HA-SAB infections can also result in death.

HA-SAB is potentially preventable through the use of infection prevention strategies such as compliance with the ‘5 Moments for Hand Hygiene’, aseptic technique, skin antisepsis before invasive procedures, improved insertion and management of indwelling devices, effective antimicrobial stewardship and regular infection surveillance.

Continuous ongoing surveillance of healthcare associated infections (HAIs), including HA-SAB, is an important quality improvement activity that helps to make care safer and guides strategies to improve clinical practice. Surveillance of HA-SAB is considered a robust measure of the control of HAIs and the quality of IPC strategies, because the identification of S. aureus in a blood culture is rarely considered a contaminant.

In 2012 the Commission endorsed using the rate of HA-SAB per 1,000 inpatient days as the outcome marker for Hand Hygiene New Zealand, its national quality improvement programme. The latest outcome marker results are available here.

Related resources

Link: Guide to the surveillance of healthcare associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia

Last updated: 20th May, 2022