In Calif., thousands of deaths from hospital superbugs go unreported

Thousands of patients die after contracting "superbug" infections in hospitals, though you would never know from their death certificates, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Scientists say an epidemic of hospital-acquired infections is riding under the radar. In 2014, researchers from Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan said infections — including those acquired inside and outside of the hospital — would supersede heart disease and cancer as the leading causes death in hospitals if the count was based on patients' medical billing records instead of death certificates, according to the report.

California does not track deaths that result from HAIs, and it does not require hospitals to report when patients contract rare and lethal superbugs, raising questions about whether health officials are doing enough to stop them from spreading.

Approximately 75,000 Americans die of HAIs during their hospitalization each year, according to estimates from the CDC. Since California provides between 10 percent and 12 percent of the nation's hospital care, state officials estimate that 7,500 to 9,000 Californians died from HAIs each year. However, these numbers may be significantly underestimated, according to health experts.

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