Episodes of Staphylococcus aureus (including MRSA and MSSA) bacteraemia (SAB) in acute care hospitals.

Collection details

Temporal coverage

1/7/2009 to 30/6/2017

Geographical coverage



Data availability

  • Publications
  • Data cubes

Client specified tables on request which may be subject to data provider approval (charges apply).

Data scope

The dataset includes counts of cases of SAB for each public hospital covered by SAB surveillance arrangements, for some states and territories, there is less than 100% coverage of public hospitals.

Private hospitals are also invited to provide data on the same basis, but are not required to do so. In some reports, data are presented for public hospitals only.

A patient episode of SAB is defined as a positive blood culture for Staphylococcus aureus. For surveillance purposes, only the first isolate per patient is counted, unless at least 14 days has passed without a positive blood culture, after which an additional episode is recorded.

A Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia case will be considered to be healthcare-associated if: the first positive blood culture is collected more than 48 hours after hospital admission or less than 48 hours after discharge, OR, if the first positive blood culture is collected 48 hours or less after admission and one or more of the following key clinical criteria was met for the patient-episode of SAB:

  1. SAB is a complication of the presence of an indwelling medical device (e.g. intravascular line, haemodialysis vascular access, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt, urinary catheter)
  2. SAB occurs within 30 days of a surgical procedure where the SAB is related to the surgical site
  3. An invasive instrumentation or incision related to the SAB was performed within 48 hours
  4. SAB is associated with neutropenia contributed to by cytotoxic therapy. Neutropenia is defined as at least two separate calendar days with values of absolute neutrophil count (ANC) <500 cells/mm3 (0.5 × 109 / L) on or within a seven-day time period which includes the date the positive blood specimen was collected (Day 1), the 3 calendar days before and the 3 calendar days after.


Cases where a known previous positive test has been obtained within the last 14 days are excluded. For example: If a patient has SAB in which 4 sets of blood cultures are positive over the initial 3 days of the patient's admission only one episode of SAB is recorded. If the same patient had a further set of positive blood cultures on day 6 of the same admission, these would not be counted again, but would be considered part of the initial patient-episode.

Note: If the same patient had a further positive blood culture 20 days after admission (i.e. greater than 14 days after their last positive blood culture on day 5), then this would be considered a second patient-episode of SAB.


Admin data

Metadata information and data quality statement (DQS)

NHA PI specification (2021 reporting cycle)

Data quality statement (2018-19 NSABDC)

External links and information

Web report (National/State/Territory*): Bloodstream infections associated with hospital care 2019-20*

MyHospitals update (multi-level**, includes data for private hospitals): Bloodstream infections associated with hospital care 2019-20

* Note that this report only includes national and state/territory level data. Public hospital data are consistent with NHA PI 22 (a small number of privately operated public hospitals)

** Public hospital data includes a small number of privately operated public hospitals.


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