NASHVILLE, TN. (AP) - A new study has found that infection rates among the tiniest infants in Tennessee's neonatal intensive care units are 70% higher than the national average.

Tennessee lawmakers mandated in 2006 that hospitals report data on bacterial blood infections in adult and pediatric intensive care units. The report released last month looks at infections from central lines.

According to The Tennessean, the study found that high-risk babies in Tennessee are 40% more likely than the national average to have those infections. That number rose to 70% for babies weighing 1.65 pounds or less.

But a year-old initiative that aims to cut Tennessee's infection rate by more than half in the next five years may already be working. The pediatric infection data for the report were collected in 2008 and 2009, and several hospitals said their rates of infection have decreased in the past year.

Information from: The Tennessean,

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