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Definition of Nosocomial Infection

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Updated March 30, 2009

Definition: Any infection acquired while in a hospital or healthcare setting.

While a patient is admitted to the hospital for treatment of other conditions, nosocomial infections may be acquired from other patients, hospital staff, contaminated objects or solutions, or from the patient himself (such as transfer from one site of the body to another). Most common nosocomial infections are surgical wound infections, urinary and respiratory tract infections, and bacteremia (bloodstream infections). Many of these infections are by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, known as superbugs, and can often have serious consequences for the individual and the hospital community.

Pronunciation: no-suh-COH-mee-ul in-FEC-shun
Also Known As: hospital- or healthcare-acquired infections
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