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APIC 2009 'Targeting Zero' Initiative Offers Practical Tools, Evidence-Based Elimination Strategies to Prevent the Deadliest Healthcare-Associated Infections

WASHINGTON, Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) has expanded its successful Targeting Zero initiative for 2009 to offer comprehensive education and guidance to prevent the most common and fatal healthcare-associated infections (HAIs).

Targeting Zero features Webinars, conferences and practical tools such as HAI elimination guides. APIC's evidence-based elimination guides translate CDC recommendations into straightforward infection prevention strategies for healthcare workers.

In 2009, APIC will publish a new elimination guide for ventilator-associated pneumonia (VAP), the leading cause of death from HAIs. VAP is a type of pneumonia occurring in people being assisted by mechanical ventilators. In addition to VAP, APIC will also publish elimination guides for catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs), catheter-associated blood stream infections, MRSA in long-term care settings and Acinetobacter baumannii, an antibiotic-resistant bacterium causing infections in wounded military personnel.

"APIC will continue to provide direction and guidance for healthcare workers through clearly outlined implementation strategies for reduction of HAIs," said APIC CEO Kathy Warye. "Our expanded offering has been developed in response to infection preventionists and healthcare leaders who are under increased pressure to improve outcomes and preserve healthcare dollars. As we have since 1973, APIC will help institutions bring the science of HAI reduction to the bedside."

In addition to the new elimination guides, APIC will conduct a 2009 follow-up survey to its ground-breaking MRSA Prevalence Study, first released in 2007. The purpose of the survey will be to gain a better understanding of changes in MRSA prevalence as well as current interventions and their impact.

Also slated for 2009 is a conference focusing on regulatory issues in infection prevention and a series of educational offerings on safe injection practices in ambulatory surgery centers. Additionally, APIC will launch a program to share success stories on performance improvement.

Targeting Zero was initiated in 2008 with educational programs aimed at preventing MRSA, Clostridium difficile infection and the three infections considered preventable by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs), catheter-associated blood stream infections, and mediastinitis (a deep infection following coronary artery bypass surgery). A two-day conference for healthcare executives on the new CMS regulations that reduce payment for HAIs was held in September.

As part of the 2008 Targeting Zero initiative APIC conducted a National Prevalence Study of C. difficile in U.S. Healthcare Facilities, the first study to calculate the true magnitude of this infection in the nation's hospitals. The study indicated that 13 out of every 1,000 inpatients were either infected or colonized with C. difficile, a rate 6.5 to 20 times greater than previous incidence estimates. C. difficile is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious intestinal conditions such as colitis.

"New pay-for-performance mandates from CMS and private insurers are driving increased interest in infection prevention," said Warye. "But the most important reason to eliminate HAIs is to save lives and reduce suffering. While not all infections are preventable, working toward zero should be the goal. APIC urges all healthcare institutions to pursue zero HAIs and address the resources, systems and cultural changes that will support this effort."

For more information about APIC Targeting Zero educational programs, please visit:

APIC Targeting Zero 2009

APIC will publish new elimination guides for:

  • VAP (ventilator-associated pneumonia)
  • Catheter-associated urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Catheter-associated blood stream infections
  • MRSA in long-term care settings
  • Acinetobacter baumannii

HAIs are a critical public health issue, affecting nearly 2 million Americans annually, with 99,000 deaths and an estimated $20 billion in healthcare costs, according to the CDC.

The CDC estimates the most common HAIs are urinary tract infections (32 percent), surgical site infections (22 percent), pneumonias (15 percent), and blood stream infections (14 percent).

APIC's mission is to improve health and patient safety by reducing risks of infection and other adverse outcomes. The association's 12,000 members direct infection prevention programs that save lives and improve the bottom line for hospitals and other healthcare facilities around the globe. APIC advances its mission through education, research, collaboration, practice guidance, public policy and credentialing. Visit APIC online at

SOURCE Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
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