1. A nosocomial infection, also known as a healthcare-associated infection (HAI), is an infection
that is acquired by a patient during their stay in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital, nursing
home, or clinic. These infections are not present or incubating at the time of admission but
develop as a result of healthcare interventions.
Characteristics of nosocomial infections:
Origin in Healthcare Settings: Nosocomial infections originate within healthcare facilities,
making them distinct from community-acquired infections, which are acquired outside of
Acquired During Hospitalization: Patients typically acquire nosocomial infections during their
hospital stay, although they can also develop within a few days to weeks after discharge.
Varied Pathogens: These infections can be caused by a wide range of microorganisms, including
bacteria, viruses, fungi, and sometimes even drug-resistant strains.
Site of Infection: Nosocomial infections can affect various parts of the body, including the
respiratory tract, urinary tract, surgical wounds, bloodstream, and others.
Vulnerable Populations: Certain patient populations are more susceptible to nosocomial
infections due to factors like weakened immune systems, invasive medical procedures, and
prolonged hospital stays. These populations often include elderly patients, those with chronic
illnesses, and individuals undergoing surgery or intensive care.
Transmission Routes: Nosocomial infections can be transmitted through several routes, including
direct contact with contaminated healthcare workers, surfaces, or medical equipment, as well as
airborne transmission in some cases.
Preventable: Many nosocomial infections are preventable through rigorous infection control
measures, including hand hygiene, proper sterilization and disinfection procedures, isolation
precautions, and antibiotic stewardship.
Increased Morbidity and Mortality: These infections can lead to additional health complications,
prolonged hospitalization, and an increased risk of morbidity and mortality for affected patients.
Economic Impact: Nosocomial infections contribute to the economic burden of healthcare
systems by increasing healthcare costs, lengthening hospital stays, and requiring additional
Surveillance and Reporting: Healthcare facilities often have surveillance systems in place to
monitor and report nosocomial infections, which helps in identifying trends and implementing
interventions to reduce their occurrence.
2. Antibiotic Resistance: Some nosocomial infections are caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria,
making treatment more challenging and increasing the risk of spreading these resistant strains
within healthcare settings.
Efforts to prevent and control nosocomial infections are a critical part of healthcare institutions'
responsibilities to ensure patient safety and reduce the risk of healthcare-associated harm.