Prospective Surveillance of Nosocomial Viral Infections During and After Hospitalization at a University Children's Hospital

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Background:In Switzerland 5% to 10% of hospitalized adults acquire nosocomial infections (NI) but few data are available in children. Most former studies on NI in hospitalized children analyzed specific units or pathogens and neglected the postdischarge period. We aimed to prospectively assess viral NI occurring during and shortly after hospitalization in children.Methods:Prospective surveillance was performed during a 24-month period. Electronic standardized questionnaires were completed for each patient by physicians during hospital stay. On a ward-based rotational schedule, follow-up information was obtained from a subset of patients 1 week after hospital discharge. NI were defined using CDC recommendations.Results:Overall, 6250 patients (34,608 patient hospitalization days, PHD) were enrolled and 1272 patients were recruited for postdischarge surveillance. Mean hospitalization duration was 5 days. Fifty-two (0.8%) patients acquired 54 viral NI during hospitalization and 12 patients (1.1%) acquired 12 viral NI after hospital discharge (NI incidence: 1.9 per 1000 PHD including follow-up period). NI rate in infants was higher compared with children >12 months old (2.0% vs. 0.8%; P < 0.05) and the infant ward also had the highest incidence (4.0 NI per 1000 PHD). Most NI were gastrointestinal tract infections with 55% caused by rotavirus infection. NI rates were highest between November and March.Conclusions:A significant part of NI will only be detected if surveillance includes the immediate postdischarge period. Given the strong seasonality of pediatric NI, intensifying hygiene measurements particularly on infant wards and prior to the cold season would be beneficial in reducing NI incidence.

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