Infection control programs are primarily oriented toward chronicling the incidence of nosocomial infections (NI). Intervention programs oriented toward preventing infection would be facilitated by identifying patients at greatest risk of NI acquisition. We studied the number of comorbidities as a risk predictor for NIs in patients admitted to the medical intensive care unit (ICU) for three or more days. In 148 patients, we found by regression analysis that the number of comorbidities varied directly with the development of nosocomial infections, as well as with the appearance of new complications and length of ICU stay. Diagnosis-related groups did not adequately account for the variance in comorbidities observed.