The agency believes the figure does "not represent the full extent" of the trend because it is difficult to link infections to specific healthcare facilities.
In its report, the GAO recommended that federal health officials improve their data collection efforts on dangerous injections and related outbreaks.
Investigators also recommended that health regulators strengthen public health campaigns on proper injection procedures.
The "One and Only" campaign, for example, aims to raise awareness using the slogan "One needle, one syringe, only one time."
The effort "has targeted some types of clinicians and healthcare settings that have experienced a blood-borne pathogen outbreak related to unsafe injection practice," but "additional targeted outreach is needed" for other healthcare settings, the GAO report stated.