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March 13, 1978

Severity of Underlying Disease as a Predictor of Nosocomial InfectionUtility in the Control of Nosocomial Infection

Author Affiliations

From the Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Utah (Drs Britt and Schleupner), and the Department of Epidemiology, Salt Lake City Veterans Administration Hospital (Dr Britt and Ms Matsumiya), Salt Lake City.

JAMA. 1978;239(11):1047-1051. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280380047016

In a prospective study, we determined that severity of underlying disease at time of admission indicates medical patients at unusual risk of nosocomial infection. The nosocomial infection rate was 23.6% in patients with fatal underlying disease, 9.6% in those with ultimately fatal disease, and 2.1% in those with nonfatal disease. After an awareness program that promoted the use of established methods for prevention of nosocomial infections was established, there was a decline of overall incidence of endemic nosocomial infections from 9.2% to 4.8% (P<.001) within an eight-month period. With subsequent discontinuation of the program, the infection rate rose to 8.1%. Reinstitution of the program resulted in a decline to 5.2% (P=.05).

(JAMA 239:1047-1051, 1978)