21% of HAIs waterborne, study finds

A little over 20 percent of healthcare-associated infections can be transmitted via water, according to a study published in Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology.

Researchers examined internal CDC records from Jan. 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2017. They used water-related terms and organisms, except for Legionella, to find CDC consultations that involved transmission of water-related organisms in healthcare settings.

Of 620 consultations, researchers found 134 (21.6 percent) that involved the investigation of potential water-related HAIs or infection control lapses that gave rise to the potential for water-related HAIs. Around 30 percent of consultations involved nontuberculous mycobacteria, and 35. 8 percent involved medical products.

Potential water-exposure pathways for waterborne HAIs included medication preparation near water splash zones.

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