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Prevalence of Nosocomial Infections in Swiss Children's Hospitals

  • Kathrin Mühlemann (a1), Christine Franzini (a1), Christoph Aebi (a1), Christoph Berger (a2), David Nadal (a2), Jody Stähelin (a3), Hanspeter Gnehm (a3), Klara Posfay-Barbe (a4), Alain Gervaix (a4), Hugo Sax (a5), Ulrich Heininger (a6), Jan Bonhoeffer (a6), Gerhard Eich (a7), Christian Kind (a7), Christiane Petignat (a8) and Pietro Scalfaro (a8)...



To acquire data on pediatric nosocomial infections (NIs), which are associated with substantial morbidity and mortality and for which data are scarce.


Prevalence survey and evaluation of a new comorbidity index.


Seven Swiss pediatric hospitals.


Those hospitalized for at least 24 hours in a medical, surgical, intensive care, or intermediate care ward.


Thirty-five NIs were observed among 520 patients (6.7%; range per hospital, 1.4% to 11.8%). Bacteremia was most frequent (2.5 per 100 patients), followed by urinary tract infection (1.3 per 100 patients) and surgical-site infection (1.1 per 100 patients; 3.2 per 100 patients undergoing surgery). The median duration until the onset of infection was 19 days. Independent risk factors for NI were age between 1 and 12 months, a comorbidity score of 2 or greater, and a urinary catheter. Among surgical patients, an American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) score of 2 or greater was associated with any type of NI (P = .03). Enterobacteriaceae were the most frequent cause of NI, followed by coagulase-negative staphylococci; viruses were rarely the cause.


This national prevalence survey yielded valuable information about the rate and risk factors of pediatric NI. A new comorbidity score showed promising performance. ASA score may be a predictor of NI. The season in which a prevalence survey is conducted must be considered, as this determines whether seasonal viral infections are observed. Periodic prevalence surveys are a simple and cost-effective method for assessing NI and comparing rates among pediatric hospitals.


Corresponding author

Institute for Infectious Diseases, University of Bern, Friedbühlstrasse 51, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland


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Prevalence of Nosocomial Infections in Swiss Children's Hospitals

  • Kathrin Mühlemann (a1), Christine Franzini (a1), Christoph Aebi (a1), Christoph Berger (a2), David Nadal (a2), Jody Stähelin (a3), Hanspeter Gnehm (a3), Klara Posfay-Barbe (a4), Alain Gervaix (a4), Hugo Sax (a5), Ulrich Heininger (a6), Jan Bonhoeffer (a6), Gerhard Eich (a7), Christian Kind (a7), Christiane Petignat (a8) and Pietro Scalfaro (a8)...


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