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The term hospital infection, hospital-acquired infection, or nosocomial infection is applied to infections occurring in hos-pitalized patients who were neither infected nor were in incuba-tion at the time of their admission to the hospital.
Approximately, 5% of hospitalized patients experience a nosocomial infection. Nosocomial infection represents an important public health problem in developing countries, as in developed ones today, and as a major cause of high morbidity, mortality, and economic consequences in hospitalized patients.
The impact of hospital-acquired infections is considerable— the patient may need longer hospital treatment, readmission, or even further surgery, increasing the time of absence from work and use of hospital and community resources. The recent trend of shorter hospital stays means that more patients with hospital-acquired infections are presenting to general practi-tioners in the community. In addition, as home administration of intravenous medications becomes increasingly common, cannula-associated infections, once confined to hospital patients, may present in the community.
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