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February 7, 1996

Nosocomial Infections in Intensive Care Units

Author Affiliations

Anestesia e Rianimazione Ospedale Maggiore
Anestesia e Rianimazione Ospedale San Raffaele
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR)-Istituto di Technologie Biomediche Avanzate Milan, Italy

JAMA. 1996;275(5):362. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530290032031

To the Editor.  —The European Prevalence of Infection in Intensive Care (EPIC) study by Dr Vincent and colleagues1 is, to our knowledge, the first study in which prevalence of intensive care unit (ICU) infections is estimated in more than 10 000 patients of 1417 ICUs in 17 European countries. This study provides an estimate of the magnitude of the problem of infections in ICUs as well as the sites and bacteria involved, using the 1-day prevalence techniques. A high variability of the prevalence of ICU-acquired infections among countries, from a minimum of 9.7% in Switzerland to a maximum of 31.6% in Italy, results from this study. Despite the many caveats expressed by the authors, those differences appear as an indicator of the efficacy of infection control and quality of care in the different countries. From this point of view, the high prevalence of infections in Italian ICUs created alarm