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Healthcare-Associated Infections

Some 1.7 million patients acquire healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in U.S. hospitals each year, resulting in 99,000 deaths and $20 billion to $45 billion in additional health care costs. Diagnostic tests are a first-line defense against HAIs, capable of screening asymptomatic individuals to identify risk; detecting disease at the earliest stages before symptoms occur; and identifying threats to patient safety and public health. They also can be used to select safe and effective treatments, plan disease management strategies and estimate treatment response throughout the course of care. Tests for HAIs include viral cultures and molecular typing of microbial pathogens.