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J Hosp Infect. 1998 Jan;38(1):37-49.

Prevalence of nosocomial infections in representative German hospitals.

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Institute for Hygiene, Free University Berlin.


The nosocomial infection (NI) rate in German hospitals was studied in order to create reference data for comparison in hospitals where ongoing surveillance is impossible. The study was designed as a one-day prevalence study. Patients in 72 selected hospitals (inclusion criteria: acute care hospitals with departments for general medicine, surgery, obstetrics/gynaecology) were examined by four external investigators (physicians trained and validated in the diagnosis of NI). A total of 14,996 patients were studied. The overall prevalence rate was 3.5% (CI 3.1-3.9) with a variation of 0-8.9% between hospitals. The commonest NI were: urinary tract infection (42.1%), lower respiratory tract infection (20.6%), surgical site infections (15.8%) and primary sepsis (8.3%). The highest prevalence rate (15.3%) was found in intensive care ward patients, followed by surgery (3.8%), general medicine (3.0%) and gynaecology/obstetrics (1.4%). The infection rate varied significantly with hospital size. A microbiology laboratory report was only available for 56.5% of patients thought to have an NI, and there were remarkable differences between hospitals with and without an on-site microbiology laboratory. Because of this and other methodological reasons the NI prevalence rates reported here may represent the absolute minimum of nosocomially infected patients in Germany.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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