The activities of HAI-Net are largely based on the activities of the former IPSE (Improving Patient Safety in Europe) network. The coordination of IPSE was transferred to ECDC in July 2008. In addition, HAI-Net provides support to Member States to respond to the Council Recommendation of 9 June 2009 on patient safety, including the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections (2009/C 151/01).
The main priorities of HAI-Net are the coordination of the European point prevalence survey of HAI and antimicrobial use in acute care hospitals, the European surveillance of surgical site infections, the European surveillance of HAI in intensive care units and the repeated prevalence surveys of HAI and antimicrobial use in European long-term care facilities.
Activities of the Healthcare-associated Infections Surveillance Network (HAI-Net):
ECDC point prevalence survey (PPS) of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and antimicrobial use in acute care hospitals
The main objectives of the ECDC PPS of healthcare-associated infections (HAI) and antimicrobial use in acute care hospitals are to estimate the total burden of HAI and antimicrobial use in acute care hospitals in the EU, to describe the distribution of HAI and antimicrobials prescribed by type of patients and healthcare facilities and by country, to raise awareness and reinforce surveillance structures and skills, and to identify targets for quality improvement and evaluate the effect of strategies at the hospital, national and European level.
ECDC surveillance of surgical site infections (SSIs)
The ECDC surveillance of SSIs (former HELICS-SSI surveillance network) aims to describe and monitor the epidemiology of SSIs at European level and to draw up European reference tables for inter-hospital comparisons of risk-adjusted SSI rates. Seven surgical categories are under surveillance: coronary artery bypass grafting, cholecystectomy, colon surgery, caesarean section, hip prosthesis, knee prosthesis and laminectomy.
ECDC surveillance of HAI in intensive care units (ICUs)
Patients admitted to ICUs are at higher risk of acquiring an infection because of the severity of the underlying illness and the use of invasive devices such as central vascular catheters and mechanical ventilation. As a continuation of the former HELICS-ICU surveillance network, the ECDC surveillance of infections acquired in ICUs collects data from the dedicated national surveillance networks.
Surveillance of HAI and related practices in European long-term care facilities (LTCFs)
Due to the ageing of the population, the number of elderly people in need of care in LTCFs (including nursing homes) increases across Europe. Residents of these facilities often have a high risk for the acquisition and development of HAI and antimicrobial-resistant microorganisms. ECDC supports the prevention and control of HAI and antimicrobial resistance in LTCFs in Europe by organising repeated point prevalence measurements of HAI, antibiotic use and infection control indicators. From December 2008 to May 2011 these activities are carried out within the HAI in long-term care facilities project (HALT project).
Supporting capacity building for the surveillance of Clostridium difficile infections (CDIs)
Following the recognition of a new hypervirulent strain of Clostridium difficile , PCR ribotype 027, ECDC in collaboration with the ESCMID Study Group on Clostridium difficile (ESGCD) produced a background document on CDIs and a guidance document on the prevention and control of CDIs. They also sponsored the first pan-European, hospital-based survery (ECDIS) (Bauer et al. Clostridium difficile infection in Europe: a hospital-based survey. Lancet. 2011 Jan 1;377(9759):63-73). Based on the results of ECDIS, support for further capacity building for surveillance of CDIs is provided by enhancing the laboratory capacity for CDI diagnosis in EU Member States, by establishing a European ribotyping nomenclature and a comprehensive reference collection of strains (including a web-based database), and by developing a European CDI surveillance protocol. Project 'Supporting capacity building for surveillance of Clostridium difficile infections at European level' (2010-2014)
Infection control structure and process indicators (SPI)
Building on IPSE activities, ECDC continues agreeing infection control SPIs for the evaluation of HAI control and prevention programmes. Some SPIs were integrated in the point prevalence surveys of HAI and antimicrobial use for both acute care hospitals and LTCFs, while other indicators are developed as a function of the development of guidance for the prevention and control of HAI.
Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare-associated infections epidemic intelligence system (ARHAI EPIS)
The ARHAI EPIS is a tool that allows information exchange, risk assessment and timely risk communication between EU Member States and ECDC regarding antimicrobial resistance and HAI events with a potential impact at European level.
ECDC provides support to the basic infection control training programmes in EU Member States based on an assessment of the infection control training needs and through the development of specific training modules. Project 'Infection control training needs assessment in the European Union'