Australian hospital statistics 2011-12: Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in Australian public hospitals

Public health Diseases Diseases Australia

This report presents national information on cases of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia (SAB) associated with care provided by public hospitals for 1 July 2011 to 30 June 2012. This report builds on robust national and jurisdictional arrangements to monitor and reduce SAB.

What is SAB?

  • SAB is a serious bloodstream infection that may be associated with hospital care. As such, it is known as a type of healthcare-associated infection.
  • Patients who develop bloodstream infections such as SAB are more likely to suffer complications that result in a longer hospital stay and an increased cost of hospitalisation. Serious infections may also result in death.
  • In December 2008, Australian Health Ministers endorsed the reporting of SAB by all hospitals in their relevant jurisdiction to form a national data collection.
  • In addition, rates of SAB, including cases caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, were announced in 2008 as one of the performance indicators to be reported by jurisdictions under the National Healthcare Agreement.

SAB rates in 2011-12

  • In 2011-12, all states and territories had rates of SAB below the national benchmark of 2.0 cases per 10,000 patient days. The national rate was 0.9 cases per 10, 000 patient days.
  • The rates ranged from 0.7 per 10,000 patient days in Western Australia to 1.3 in the Northern Territory.
  • There were 1,734 cases of SAB reported for Australian public hospitals overall, of which 76% were methicillin sensitive, and therefore treatable with commonly used antibiotics. This was slightly lower than the 1,875 cases reported nationally in 2010-11.
  • The reported SAB cases occurred during 18.5 million days of patient care under SAB surveillance during 2011-12.
  • Between 2010-11 and 2011-12, rates of SAB decreased nationally, and in New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Tasmania and Northern Territory. The rate increased in the Australian Capital Territory.
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