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HAI - Surgical Site Infection (SSI)

A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Surgical site infections can sometimes be superficial infections involving the skin only. Other surgical site infections are more serious and can involve tissues under the skin, organs, or implanted material. Surgical site infections (SSIs) represent a substantial source of morbidity and mortality along with significant human and financial costs. Depending on the type of surgery and the health of the patient, the incidence of postoperative SSIs can be upwards of 20 percent.

VIMI promotes CDC guidelines and tools to the Virgin Islands healthcare community to help end surgical site infections. We also distribute resources to help the public understand these infections and take measures to safeguard their own health when possible. Appropriate use of prophylactic antibiotics has been shown conclusively to reduce the risk of SSI in selected types of surgery. To reduce SSIs, hospitals will need to determine the most thoughtful application of prophylactic antibiotics given the type of surgery scheduled and ensure that the timing and duration of the antibiotic therapy is appropriate.