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April 29, 1998

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Hopkins Receives Grant To Study Hospital Infections

The Johns Hopkins Hospital's Office of Infection Control and Epidemiology has been awarded $272,000 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the first year of a variety of three-year studies, including suspected links between the number of hospital nurses and the rate of bloodborne infections acquired by patients. The office expects to receive additional funding for each of the two following years.

The grant establishes Hopkins as one of eight Centers for Excellence in Health care Epidemiology and Infection Control, or Epi Centers, designed to improve control of infections caused by bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, especially those resistant to drugs. Each center will study different aspects of the problem. The Hopkins grant will cover research involving The Johns Hopkins Hospital, the University of Maryland Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital in Baltimore.

"Each year in the United States, there are almost 2,000,000 infections acquired by patients after they are hospitalized, and 88,000 die," says Trish Perl, M.D., director of the Office of Infection Control and Epidemiology. "The work of the Epi Centers should greatly increase our understanding of this problem and suggest solutions." Perl's group also will study the extent of patient recovery from these so-called nosocomial infections, which patients are likely to suffer long-term consequences, and costs associated with them.

The other Epi Centers include Harvard Pilgrim Health Care (Boston, Mass.), McGuire Veterans Affairs Hospital (Richmond, Va.), Washington University School of Medicine (St. Louis, Mo.), Miriam Hospital (Providence, R.I.), Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (New York, N.Y.), Northwestern University Medical School (Chicago, Ill.) and the University of Iowa City (Iowa).

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