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Am J Infect Control. 2013 Jun;41(6):549-53. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.06.011. Epub 2012 Dec 7.

Postdischarge surveillance following delivery: the incidence of infections and associated factors.

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Department of Health Sciences, Medical School, University of Catanzaro Magna Græcia, Catanzaro, Italy.



To assess the effectiveness of a postdischarge surveillance system to reveal cases of postpartum infections that could be missed by the current in-hospital routine surveillance and to identify predictors of postpartum infections.


The prospective surveillance included obstetrics patients. The information recorded included sociodemographic characteristics, infection-predisposing conditions, documentation of extrinsic risk factors, variables related to pregnancy and delivery, and variables related to each patient's newborn. A telephone interview on Day 30 after hospital discharge was performed to retrieve information related to signs and symptoms of infection.


One thousand seven hundred five patients agreed to participate for a response rate of 93%. One hundred forty-nine (8.9%) patients contacted by telephone reported at least 1 episode of infection within 30 days of discharge. There were 24 infections occurring during hospitalization, representing only 16.1% of all infections. There was an increased risk of postpartum infections in women with complications during labor, in those who had a caesarean delivery, and in those who reported alcohol consumption during pregnancy.


Our study demonstrated the need for implementing postdischarge surveillance programs for obstetrics patients that also identify infections following vaginal delivery. Postdischarge surveillance by telephone contact proved to be a feasible and effective method.

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