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Information for the Public

What is an infection?

An infection is the invasion by and multiplication of pathogenic microorganisms in a bodily part or tissue, which may produce injury and lead to disease in a variety of ways.

What is a healthcare-associated infection?

Healthcare-associated infections are infections that patients acquire while receiving treatment for medical or surgical conditions. HAIs occur in all settings of care, including acute care within hospitals and same day surgical centers, ambulatory outpatient care in healthcare clinics, and in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities. HAIs are associated with a variety of causes, including (but not limited to) the use of medical devices, such as catheters and ventilators, complications following a surgical procedure, transmission between patients and healthcare workers, or the result of antibiotic overuse.

The IDPH and community partners are working together to eliminate preventable HAIs in Iowa.

Two HAIs will be targeted for prevention efforts because they are among the most common and can cause illness and death and may lead to longer stays in the hospital.

For more information on HAI's:

  • Call (515) 242-5935, or
  • 1 (800) 362-2736, or
  • Use the "Contact Us" page to submit questions online.