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Am J Epidemiol. 1976 Mar;103(3):251-60.

Hospital-acquired infections. I. Surveillance in a university hospital.


A new system of surveillance is described for detecting hospital-aquired infections. Surveillance begins on the ward where a weekly review of the nursing care plan (Kardex) is used to select high risk patients (approximately 65% of the total population) for a subsequent chart review. A nurse-epidemiologist required 16-25 hr per week to perform surveillance and 4 more hr to organize line listings of infected patients. The Kardex review was 82 to 94 percent accurate in detecting nosocomial infections when compared to prospective reviews of the charts of all hospitalized patients. The new surveillance method was more accurate than a system based on weekly chart reviews of all patients receiving systemic antibiotics and/or of all patients with fever (temperature less than or equal to 37.8 C orally). In addition, it was more accurate and offered advantages over a system in which surveillance depended primarily on the bacteriology laboratory. Over a 12-month period 1154 hospital-acquired infections were identified for a 7% annual infection rate. Data from ongoing surveillance are used to record accurate infection rates by service, to define the risk of various hospital procedures, and to monitor for common source outbreaks of infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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