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THE PHARMA REVIEW (JULY - AUGUST 2011)

Nosocomial Infections

1Rakesh K. Patel, 2Anil Bhandari, 3Rakesh Kumar Rishi

Over the past few decades, the emergence of hospital acquired or nosocomial infections has raised considerable global concern. The nosocomial infections occur due to bacterial, viral and fungal pathogens. Historically, staphylococci, pseudomonads, and Escherichia coli have been the leading cause of nosocomial infections causing nosocomial pneumonia, surgical wound infections, and vascular access–related bacteremia which have caused the most illness and death in hospitalized patients. With globalization and indiscriminate use of antibiotics, the nosocomial infection is now a worldwide problem. There are increased incidences of mortality and morbidity not only in developed countries, but also in developing and poor-resource countries. Several strategies have been developed to address these concerns. It is interesting to note that there are simple, economic, and practical ways to deal with such a global health threat. There is a definite role of pharmacist in preventing nosocomial infections which is discussed in this article.
Introduction
The nosocomial infection [also known as hospital-acquired infection or healthcare-associated infections (HAI)] is an infection that was neither present nor was in its incubation period when the patient entered the hospital. Nosocomial infections may also appear after discharge from the hospital, if the patient was in the incubation period at the time of discharge. As per the WHO’s practical guide on Prevention of Hospital-Acquired Infections, nosocomial infection can be defined as "An infection acquired in hospital by a patient who was admitted for a reason other than that infection. It is an infection occurring in a patient in a hospital or other health care facility in whom the infection was not present or incubating at the time of admission. This includes infections acquired in the hospital but appearing after discharge, and also occupational infections among staff of the facility." Precisely, most infections that become clinically evident after 48 hours of hospitalization are considered to be hospital-acquired. Infections that occur after the patient is discharged from the hospital can be considered nosocomial if the organisms were acquired during the hospital stay. Nosocomial infections occur all over the world and affect both developed and developing countries. Even in this modern era of antibiotics, the nosocomial infections continue to remain an important and formidable consequence of hospitalization.

 

 

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