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.
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
|Number of reported cases
|Large, fewer vulnerable patients
|Large, more vulnerable patients
|Major, fewer vulnerable patients
|Major, more vulnerable patients
In 2012–13, the total number of reported cases of healthcare-associated Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream infections reported in Australian public hospitals was 1,724.
This comprised of:
- 1,020 cases for Major hospitals, more vulnerable patients
- 382 cases for Major hospitals, fewer vulnerable patients
- 77 cases for Large hospitals, more vulnerable patients
- 68 cases for Large hospitals, fewer vulnerable patients
- 177 for Other hospitals