Hospital-associated infections are costly. Their identification and treatment prolong hospitalization and they can result in permanent functional impairment or death. A definite, but imprecisely defined proportion are preventable. Accordingly, many hospitals, either independently or in response to regulations from various agencies, have appointed committees to oversee a program in infection control. The goals include detection and prevention and the leaders are the hospital epidemiologist and the infection control practitioner.
With ever-widening appreciation of the values of an infection control program and the initiation of them, the need for detailed information about the practice of hospital epidemiology has grown. Along with