A urinary tract infection (UTI) probably doesn't sound like the kind of thing you'd pick up in an emergency setting, but it's a surprisingly frequent occurrence. In fact, UTIs are one of the most common health care-associated infections overall [source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention].
A UTI can mean an infection in any part of the urinary tract -- kidneys, bladder, ureters or urethra. And the majority of these infections are caused by urinary catheters. Almost 25 percent of all hospitalized patients receive catheters, which put a large number of people at risk [source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]. Fortunately, ER patients aren't as likely to require catheters as people who are admitted for hospital stays. And in fact, health care educational campaigns aimed at emergency staff have sought to reduce the number of urinary catheter placements in ERs in order to reduce the incidences of UTIs [source: Gokula].
If you do contract a UTI from an ER visit, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics to help clear it up. But as you'll see on the next page, not all categories of infectious disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics.