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Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment | Health Facilities

About Healthcare-Associated Infections

About Healthcare-Associated Infections


Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are infections that occur in a patient while the patient is receiving medical care in a healthcare setting. Healthcare settings include but are not limited to: hospitals and outpatient surgery centers, long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, community clinics, dialysis centers, physician offices, assisted living facilities, among others. HAIs can be caused by a wide range of bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Most healthcare facilities have a professional who coordinates and oversees prevention of infections. In hospital settings and some other healthcare facilities, this person is referred to as an Infection Preventionist (IP). This individual is typically required to undergo specialized training or certification in infection control and prevention.


Advances in medicine have brought forth the use of many new procedures and devices to treat patients and aid them in recovery. However, these life-saving devices and medical procedures also increase the risk for HAI.

Click the links below to read more about different types of healthcare- associated infections. 

The term pathogen refers to organisms that can cause infection. These include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. There are a variety of organisms that cause infections in the healthcare setting that can be transmitted through various routes, including direct contact, droplets in the air from coughing and/or sneezing, and contaminated items.

Click the links below to learn more about the different pathogens that can cause HAI.

  • Candida species
  • Clostridium difficile - coming soon
  • Enterococcus species
    • VRE (Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci) - coming soon
  • Klebsiella pneumonia - coming soon
  • Pseudomonas species - coming soon
  • Staphylococcus species - coming soon

Multi-drug resistant organisms - coming soon

  • CRE (Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae) – coming soon
  • Acinetobacter species - coming soon
  • Staphylococcus aureus


HAI can happen any place that a patient receives medical care. Click the links below for more information on how you can help prevent HAI.