CDC Funds Research to Prevent Healthcare Acquired Infections



The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is awarding a total of $10 million to five research groups in the latest round of funding for new research to help reduce healthcare setting–associated infections.

This will be the fourth round of "Prevention Epicenter" funding since the CDC began the program in 1997. The program is intended to discover better ways to deal with difficult health care problems such as antibiotic resistance and hospital infection control. According to CDC estimates, 1 in 20 hospitalized patients will acquire a healthcare-associated infection (HAI).

The CDC names new Prevention Epicenters every 5 years based on peer-reviewed grant applications.

This year’s awardees are: the Chicago Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Prevention Epicenter (Cook County Health & Hospital System and Rush University Medical Center); the Duke University Prevention Epicenter in Durham, N.C.; the Translation Prevention Research Epicenter (Harvard Pilgrim Health Care) in Wellesley, Mass.; Southeastern Pennsylvania Adult and Pediatric Prevention Epicenter Network (University of Pennsylvania) in Philadelphia; and Washington University and BJC Epi-Center for Prevention of Healthcare Associated Infections in St. Louis.

Strategies the epicenters will be exploring include using combinations of bleach and ultraviolet light to clean hospital rooms, using new tests to distinguish patients who need antibiotics from those who don’t, finding ways to anticipate which medical devices are on the verge of causing an infection in a specific patient, and preventing HAIs by treating patients with probiotics.

In a press release announcing the awards, Dr. John Jernigan, director of CDC’s Office of HAI Prevention Research and Evaluation, said, "The Prevention Epicenter program discovers solutions and refines them so they can work to prevent infections for all healthcare settings. During the past decade, some of our biggest breakthroughs in health care infection prevention have been rooted in research of the Prevention Epicenter program, and we look forward to future advances."