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Continuous ongoing surveillance of HA-SAB is an important quality improvement activity that helps to make care safer and guides strategies to improve clinical practice. Many HA-SAB events are preventable, especially those relating to intravascular devices, which account for the majority of all HA-SAB events.

In 2021, the Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission) used data from 2017 to 2021 provided by district health boards (DHBs) to investigate the source of HA-SAB in Aotearoa New Zealand public hospitals. Medical devices accounted for the majority of reported HA-SAB sources (65 percent), followed by surgical site infection (10 percent) and organ site infection (8 percent). Other sources of HA-SAB included medical procedure (7 percent), neutropaenic sepsis (4 percent) and pneumonia (2 percent). Vascular devices accounted for 96 percent of all devices, comprising central venous catheters (50 percent) and peripheral intravenous catheters (45 percent).

A confidential summary report of the review was sent to DHBs in January 2022. Please contact for additional copies.

This report confirms the importance of surveillance to detect changes in healthcare-associated infection rates, which will inform quality improvement activities targeting infection prevention measures and best practice related to intravascular and other devices. From 1 July 2022, public hospitals are required to submit HA-SAB source data each quarter.

The review also highlighted that DHBs used a variety of tools to collect surveillance data and capture HA-SAB infection sources. The Commission has now made available a standardised HA-SAB source data collection form that will be used by public hospitals to submit their data.

See below for related resources.

Related resources

Guide: Surveillance of healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia

Webinar slides: Instructions for uploading the HA-SAB source data collection form and HA-SAB source training (7 July 2022)

Journal article: Sources of healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in New Zealand acute hospitals (October 2022)

Last updated: 13th July, 2022