UH3 Project: Active Bathing to Eliminate (ABATE) Infection

UH3 Project: Active Bathing to Eliminate (ABATE) Infection

Principal Investigator: Susan Huang, MD, MPH

Sponsoring Institution: University of California, Irvine


  • Hospital Corporation of America

  • Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care

  • University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine

  • Rush University

  • John H. Stroger Hospital

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

NIH Institute Providing Oversight: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)

Program Official: Clayton Huntley (NIAID)

Project Scientist: Gregory Deye (NIAID)

ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT02063867

Study Locations: 52 locations across the United States

Trial Status: Completed

Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are one of the most frequent causes of death in the United States and incur more than $6.5 billion in annual healthcare costs. Prevention of HAIs is a national priority for patient safety and best practice to reduce morbidity, mortality, and cost. Most infections are caused by common bacteria that normally live on the skin or in the nose and which overcome the body's normal defenses because of invasive medical devices, surgical incisions, or the physiologic effects of hospitalization.

Studies in intensive care units (ICUs) indicate that decolonization of patients' skin with chlorhexidine and nares with mupirocin can prevent many HAIs. However, evidence is lacking about the effectiveness of decolonization in non-ICU settings, where the majority of HAIs occur, and where medical care, risk of infection, patient-to-patient interactions, pathogen transmission, and bathing practices differ considerably from ICU settings. Decolonization is thus rarely used in these settings, despite its potential to meaningfully decrease the HAI rate.

ABATE Infection is a cluster-randomized controlled trial of hospitals that compares 2 quality improvement strategies to reduce multidrug-resistant organisms and HAIs in non–ICUs:

  • Arm 1: Usual care—Routine policy for showering or bathing non–critical care patients

  • Arm 2: Decolonization—Use of chlorhexidine as routine soap for showering or bed bathing for all non–critical care patients

NIH Project Information


5/9/2016: ABATE: Data Governance and Data Sharing Presentation at Steering Committee Meeting (PDF)

5/9/2016: ABATE: Generalizable Lessons Learned Presentation at Steering Committee Meeting (PDF)

4/21/2015: Update on Demonstration Project at Steering Committee Meeting (PDF)

10/24/2014: Grand Rounds Presentation: ABATE Infection Project (Video; Slides)

2/25/2014: Lessons Learned Presentation at Steering Committee Meeting (PDF)

2/24/2014: Data Sharing Presentation at Steering Committee Meeting (PDF)

1/24/2014: Grand Rounds Presentation: Survey to Assess Ethical Frameworks of Minimal Risk Studies (Video; Slides)

10/18/2013: Grand Rounds Presentation: ABATE Project—an Update (Video; Slides)

8/16/2013: Grand Rounds Presentation: The REDUCE MRSA Trial (Video; Slides)

3/08/2013: Grand Rounds Presentation: Active Bathing to Eliminate Infection (ABATE Infection) Project (Video; Slides)

Back to top


Demonstration Projects: UH3 Project: Active Bathing to Eliminate (ABATE) Infection. In: Rethinking Clinical Trials: A Living Textbook of Pragmatic Clinical Trials. Bethesda, MD: NIH Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory. Available at: https://rethinkingclinicaltrials.org/demonstration-projects/uh3-project-active-bathing-to-eliminate-abate-infection/. Updated November 7, 2019.