(HealthDay News) — From 2007–2012 the incidence of health care-associated infections (HAIs) decreased among hospitalized children, according to a study published online September 8 in Pediatrics.

Stephen W. Patrick, MD, MPH, from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and colleagues determined the incidence of HAIs in a large sample of U.S. hospitals caring for critically ill children from 2007–2012. Data were collected from neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in 173 hospitals and from pediatric intensive care units (PICUs) in 64 hospitals.

The researchers observed decreases in the rates of central-line associated bloodstream infections from 2007–2012 in NICUs (4.9 to 1.5 per 1,000 central-line days; incidence rate ratio [IRR] per quarter, 0.96) and in PICUs (4.7 to 1.0 per 1,000 central-line days; IRR per quarter, 0.96). There were also decreases observed in the rates of ventilator-associated pneumonias in NICUs (1.6 to 0.6 per 1,000 ventilator days; IRR per quarter, 0.97) and in PICUs (1.9 to 0.7 per 1,000 ventilator days; IRR per quarter, 0.95). In PICUs there was no significant change noted in the rates of catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

“Over the past several years, U.S. hospitals made substantial improvements in preventing harm to hospitalized neonates and children by reducing HAIs,” the authors write.

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