Nosocomial Infections (Hospital-Acquired Infections)


Nosocomial infections are infections that develop while a person is receiving medical attention. They are also known as healthcare-associated infections (HAI) or hospital-acquired infections. The person will not have this infection on admission but may acquire it in healthcare settings such as hospitals, ambulances, and long-term care facilities.

Nosocomial infections can occur when a pathogen — an organism that can cause disease — spreads to a susceptible host. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) oversee disease prevention. State that some of the many invasive procedures and devices involved in modern healthcare can contribute to the spread of infection. These techniques and devices include:

  • ventilators
  • catheters
  • surgery
  • prosthetic implants
  • implanted medical devices

The causes of nosocomial infections vary. They depend on the type or source of infection, the pathogen that caused it, and whether the infection is viral, fungal, or bacterial. Nosocomial infections affect 3.2% of all hospitalized patients in the United States. Antibiotic and multidrug-resistant organisms have led to further complications and greater numbers of these infections. Because of this, there has been a major effort to detect and control them with infection prevention and control programs.

Nosocomial infections have different symptoms, diagnoses, treatments, and potential complications. Common types of this infection include:

  • pneumonia
  • urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • gastrointestinal infections

This article will discuss the types, risk factors, epidemiology, common pathogens, common sources, common transmission routes, impact, antibiotic resistance, and prevention, control, and management of nosocomial infections.