Surveillance is a key component of the French plan for prevention of healthcare-associated infection (HAI) and has progressively evolved in the past decades. We describe the development and current organisation of surveillance of HAI in France and summarise key achievements and results. Surveillance of HAI is under the auspice of the national institute for public health surveillance through a central coordinating structure, the Réseau d'alerte, d'investigation et de surveillance des infections nosocomiales (RAISIN), which consists of five regional coordinating structures, two national advisory committees of the Ministry of Health and public health agencies. Surveillance includes the performance of national prevalence surveys every five years (latest in 2006), specific surveillance networks to follow trends and characterise HAI that are national priority, and mandatory reporting of HAI that meet specific criteria for alert purposes. RAISIN prioritises activities, defines technical specifications of surveillance systems, coordinates their implementation, and supports response to alerts, emergences or outbreaks of HAI. We demonstrate that the French surveillance program of HAI has become comprehensive and contributes to evaluating the impact of control and prevention of HAI. Data from RAISIN indicate a general decrease in the risk of HAI in acute care in France. They show a decrease in HAI during recent years, particularly of those related to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) for which a drop of 38% was documented between 2001 and 2006. RAISIN is also integrated into European surveillance of HAI coordinated by the European Centre for Disease Control.
Eurosurveillance, 2009, vol. 14, n°. 46