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Nosocomial infections are an important public health problem in many developing countries, particularly in the intensive care unit (ICU) setting. No previous data are available on the incidence of device-associated nosocomial infections in different types of ICUs in Argentina.
We performed a prospective nosocomial infection surveillance study during the first year of an infection control program in six Argentinean ICUs. Nosocomial infections were identified using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System definitions, and site-specific nosocomial infection rates were calculated.
The rate of catheter-associated bloodstream infections in medical-surgical ICUs was 30.3 per 1,000 device days; it was 14.2 per 1,000 device-days in coronary care units (CCUs). The rate of ventilator-associated pneumonia in medical-surgical ICUs was 46.3 per 1,000 device-days; it was 45.5 per 1,000 device-days in CCUs. The rate of symptomatic catheter-associated urinary tract infections in medical-surgical ICUs was 18.5 per 1,000 device-days; it was 12.1 per 1,000 device-days in CCUs.
The high rate of nosocomial infections in Argentinean ICUs found during our surveillance suggests that ongoing targeted surveillance and implementation of proven infection control strategies is needed in developing countries such as Argentina.
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