Approximately 4 100 000 patients are estimated to acquire a healthcare-associated infection in the EU every year. The number of deaths occurring as a direct consequence of these infections is estimated to be at least 37 000.
The most frequent infections are urinary tract infections, followed by respiratory tract infections, infections after surgery, bloodstream infections, and others (including diarrhoea due to Clostridium difficile). Multi-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is isolated in approximately 5% of all healthcare-associated infections.
Approximately 20–30% of healthcare-associated infections are considered to be preventable by intensive hygiene and control programmes.