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To study both surgical and nonsurgical nosocomial infections (NIs) seen by primary-care physicians (general practitioners [GPs]) in France.
Ongoing surveillance of postdischarge NIs by an organized group of GPs, from August 1997 to July 1999. Both the GP who personally examined the case spontaneously presenting with NI and the responsible hospital physician or surgeon were interviewed by telephone.
305 general practices from all French regions.
2,199 (29%) of 7,540 patients referred for hospitalization reconsulted the GP within 30 days of discharge. In 21 (1%) of the 2,199 cases, an NI was diagnosed by the GP and confirmed as plausible by the responsible hospital physician. We diagnosed an NI in 8 (1.3%) of the post-surgical patients and in 13 (0.8%) of the non-surgical cases within the cohort We saw eight urinary tract infections, seven surgical-site infections, three soft-tissue infections, two respiratory tract infections, and one primary bloodstream infection. In 19 patients (90%), clinical signs of NI appeared within 7 days of discharge. Assuming that all 5,431 patients who were missed for follow-up did not experience any NI, an attack rate of 0.3 per 100 admissions may be estimated for the whole group.
We diagnosed 1% of NIs following discharge from a hospital in a cohort of 2,199 patients, of which 1.3% were seen post-surgery and 0.8% following nonsurgical admissions. The percentage of postdischarge visits that were for an NI in nonsurgical patients warrants a major effort with feedback to the hospital physician to reduce infection rates.
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