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MAJOR NOSOCOMIAL INFECTIONS AND THEIR CAUSES

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Urinary Infections: According to hospital statistics, urinary infections comprise 33% to 40% of nosocomial infections. These are most commonly caused by the insertion of a catheter, and account for 17% of all infections in this catefory.

Surgical infections: account for 10% to 12% of Nosocomial Infections. They usually occur within thirty days of surgery but can take as long as a year if a prosthesis or implant has been inserted. The death rate is 4% to 5%.

Blood Infections (Bacteremia): Primary blood infections are the most common, and account for 44% of Bacteremia. The insertion of a catheter the most common cause. Secondary blood infections are infections that are caused by another Nosocomial Infection, such as urinary or surgical infections. The mortality rate can reach 25%.

Lung Infections: constitute 12% of Nosocomial Infections and are a serious risk, especially among patients who require breathing assistance. The average death rate is 7% but can reach 31% among patients using an artificial breathing apparatus, and 62% of bone marrow transplant patients.

Digestive Infections: typically affect infants. Diarrhea caused by C. difficile (clostridium difficile) has become increasingly frequent over the years. Whereas digestive infections accounted for only 1% to 2% of NI*s (Nosocomial Infections) thirty years ago, the percentage rose to 26% in the USA between the years 2000 and 2001. Between 2003 and 2005, digestive infections struck 14,000 patients in Quebec, of whom 2,000 died. In 2004, digestive infections killed 44,000 patients in Great Britain.

Other Infections: include soft tissue infections such as bed sores, viral gastro enteritis (especially among infants), influenza, conjunctivitis, and assorted respiratory and sinus related infections.



Bacteria that Cause Infections

Bacteria that cause Nosocomial Infections are numerous and varied. Any given germ or bacteria can cause several different types of infections as well. The most frequently found bacteria are: E. Coli (Escherichia Coli) which account for 23% of NI*s, staphylococcus aureus (20%), pseudomonas aeruginosa (11%) and enterococcus (6%). Most bacteria that cause Nosocomial Infections have become more and more resistant to antibiotics. Twenty years ago, less that 10% of staphylococcus aureus cases were resistant to the antobiotic Methicillin (MSRA) whereas 60% of cases are now resistant to antibiotics. Viral infections are quite frequent among infants.



Causes of Infections

There are two main categories of infections:

  • Endogenous Infections: The patient is infected by a germ that he or she is already carrying (colonized patient) when undergoing a medical procedure such as the insertion of a catheter, treating an open wound or cut, an endoscopy, or surgery.


  • Exogenous Infections: are caused by germs found in the environment. These bacteria can be found virtually everywhere in a hospital; in beds, floors, walls, medical instruments, health care worker*s clothing, ventilation systems, air conditioners, computer keyboards and cell phones etc. The hands of health care workers are the most common vehicle of infection transmission. One colonized or MSRM infected patient can infect several others within a few days.

Read more:

Nosocomial infections -Emedicine publication

Encyclopedia of Surgery


 
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