Search control section

Hospital Performance: Healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections in 2012–13, In Focus

Left hand navigation section

Introduction

This report presents rates of healthcare-associated bloodstream infections in Australia’s biggest public hospitals caused by a bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus.

Although commonly found on the skin of healthy people, Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) can cause serious illness if it gets into the bloodstream. Evidence suggests 20% to 35% of people with this sort of infection die from it or a related cause.1–4 S. aureus is sometimes also known as Golden Staph, a term that refers to the majority of cases that can be treated with antibiotics, as well as to the more dangerous cases that are resistant to antibiotics. This report covers both types. S. aureus bloodstream infections contracted while in hospital are considered potentially preventable and hospitals aim to have as few of these infections as possible.

In 2012–13 there were 1,724 cases of healthcare-associated S. aureus bloodstream infection reported as being acquired while receiving care in a public hospital. The number of cases has declined since 2011–12 in major hospitals that have a larger proportion of patients more vulnerable to these infections.

The report highlights variation in infection rates across major and large hospitals. Among major hospitals with more vulnerable patients the rate of infection varied more than three-fold. At major hospitals with fewer vulnerable patients, rates were 11 times higher at some hospitals than others.

Data revision

Note: Since publication in March 2014, some figures have been revised following updates to methods and revised information from states and territories. The most up-to-date results for each hospital are available on the hospital results pages.

Number of reported cases of healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections, by peer group, 2010–2013

Peer Group Number of reported cases
2010–11 2011–12 2012–13
Large, fewer vulnerable patients 67 43 68
Large, more vulnerable patients 81 74 77
Major, fewer vulnerable patients 399 381 382
Major, more vulnerable patients 1170 1048 1020
1
Collignon PJ, Wilkinson IJ, et al. Health care-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections: a clinical quality indicator for all hospitals. Med J Aust 2006;184(8):404–406.
2
Turnidge JD, Kotsanas D, et al. Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia: a major cause of mortality in Australia and New Zealand. Med J Aust 2009;191(7):368–373.
3
Van Hal SJ, Jensen SO, et al. Predictors of mortality in Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia. Clin Microbiol Rev 2012;25(2):362–386
4
Cosgrove SE, Sakoulas G, et al. Comparison of mortality associated with methicillin-resistant and methicillin-susceptible Staphylococcus aureus bacteremia: A meta-analysis. Clin Infect Dis 2003;36:53–59.
Download Report (PDF, 2.1 MB)