HAI (Healthcare Associated Infections)


Healthcare-associated infections are contracted in a hospital or healthcare setting; they are not present when the patient is admitted to the facility but appear at least 48 hours after hospitalization. This timeline is extended to 1 month after surgery and one year after bone and joint surgery.


Hospital-acquired infections (HAI) are a serious public health issue: they are among the 10 leading causes of mortality in industrialized countries, with an impact on the length of hospitalization and related healthcare expenses. Often characterized by their resistance to antibiotics, they are becoming more and more common; it is currently estimated that healthcare-associated infections affect around 10% of hospitalized patients.

  • In the United States, nearly 2 million HAI are detected each year, 80,000 of which result in the patient’s premature death. Their cost represents 5 billion U.S. dollars annually (WHO figures, 2005).
  • In Europe, 5 million healthcare-associated infections are detected each year, of which 135,000 result in death (Suetens C., IPSE, 2006).


The fight against HAI is based on identifying the responsible infectious agents and determining their antibiotic susceptibility profile.

  • New strains: in collaboration with physicians and researchers across the globe, the R&D teams monitor the emergence and development of new strains of drug-resistant bacteria to update the menus of our expert systems and software, which help interpret the results. We are constantly adding to our collection of over 30,000 bacterial strains, in particular through exchanges with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in the United States, and reference laboratories on all continents.
  • Automation: in addition, bioMérieux is working on the full automation of our culture and analysis systems (Full Microbiology Lab Automation) and on further reducing time to result for bacterial identification.
  • Chromogenic media: bioMérieux is a pioneer in the development of chromogenic media, one of our main research focuses. These culture media are particularly innovative and ensure the direct, reliable and rapid isolation of bacteria, especially the multi-resistant strains that cause healthcare-associated infections. Chromogenic media are intended for the screening of patients colonized by these bacteria, making it possible to avoid the spread of bacteria by isolating patients who are carriers and implementing more drastic hygiene measures.


Several factors are involved in the fight against healthcare-associated infections. We can contribute our know-how in terms of hospital environmental controls (air, water, surfaces) and screening for patients. As a leader in identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing and a pioneer in chromogenic media, bioMérieux is recognized for its expertise in microbiology. Today we are partnering with public health authorities to combat healthcare-associated infections.

Prevention, surveillance and rapid intervention are the key concepts underpinning our commitment to this combat. We have developed a complete and innovative offer that we are constantly updating, which includes rapid and reliable diagnostic tests that enable patients to receive the best-adapted treatments as early as possible.

  • Prevention and Surveillance
    • Screening of patients who are carriers of certain bacteria (often highly resistant to antibiotics) when they are hospitalized
    • Hospital environmental controls (water, air, surfaces)
    • Epidemiological surveillance
  • Intervention
    • Identification of bacteria and antibiotic susceptibility testing
    • Genotype characterization for bacteria, yeasts and molds to identify the source of infection and prevent epidemics
Pioneering Diagnostics