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Clin Infect Dis. 2005 Sep 15;41(6):848-54. Epub 2005 Aug 16.

Overview of nosocomial infections caused by gram-negative bacilli.

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  • 1Division of Healthcare Quality Promotion, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


We analyzed data from the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance (NNIS) System from 1986-2003 to determine the epidemiology of gram-negative bacilli in intensive care units (ICUs) for the most frequent types of hospital-acquired infection: pneumonia, surgical site infection (SSI), urinary tract infection (UTI), and bloodstream infection (BSI). We analyzed >410,000 bacterial isolates associated with hospital-acquired infections in ICUs during 1986-2003. In 2003, gram-negative bacilli were associated with 23.8% of BSIs, 65.2% of pneumonia episodes, 33.8% of SSIs, and 71.1% of UTIs. The percentage of BSIs associated with gram-negative bacilli decreased from 33.2% in 1986 to 23.8% in 2003. The percentage of SSIs associated with gram-negative bacilli decreased from 56.5% in 1986 to 33.8% in 2003. The percentages pneumonia episodes and UTIs associated with gram-negative bacilli remained constant during the study period. The proportion of ICU pneumonia episodes associated with Acinetobacter species increased from 4% in 1986 to 7.0% in 2003 (P<.001, by the Cochran-Armitage chi2 test for trend). Significant increases in resistance rates were uniformly seen for selected antimicrobial-pathogen combinations. Gram-negative bacilli are commonly associated with hospital-acquired infections in ICUs. The proportion of Acinetobacter species associated with ICU pneumonia increased from 4% in 1986 to 7.0% in 2003.

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