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Nosocomial Infections in Pediatric Patients A European, Multicenter Prospective Study

  • Josette Raymond (a1), Yannick Aujard (a2) and European Study Group

To determine the site and bacterial epidemiology of nosocomial infections (NIs) in children.


6-month prospective study with periodic chart review during hospitalization using a uniform prospective questionnaire in each unit, analyzed at a coordinating center.


20 units in eight European countries: 5 pediatric intensive care units (PICUs), 7 neonatal units, 2 hematology-oncology units, 8 general pediatric units.


All children hospitalized during the study period with an NI according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria.


The overall incidence of NI was 2.5%, ranging from 1% in general pediatric units to 23.6% in PICUs. Bacteria were responsible for 68% (gram-negative bacilli, 37%; gram-positive cocci, 31%), Candida for 9%, and viruses for 22% of cases. The proportion of lower respiratory tract infections was 13% in general pediatric units and 53% in PICUs. Bloodstream infections were most frequent in neonatal units (71% of NIs) and were associated with a central venous catheter in 66% of cases. Coagulase-negative Staphylococcus (CNS) was the main pathogen. Eleven percent of NI were urinary tract infections. Gastrointestinal infections were most commonly viral and accounted for 76% of NIs in general pediatric units.

The prevalence of antimicrobial resistance depended on the type of unit. The highest rates were observed in PICUs: 26.3% of Staphylococcus aureus and 89% of CNS were methicillin-resistant, and 37.5% of Klebsiella pneumoniae had an extended-spectrum β-lactamase. Mortality due to NI was 10% in PICUs and 17% in neonatal units.


We found large differences in NI frequency and microbial epidemiology in this European study. Viruses were the main pathogens in general pediatrics units. Catheter-related sepsis and CNS were frequent in newborns. A high frequency of multiresistant bacteria was observed in some units. Clinical monitoring of NIs and bacterial resistance profiles are required in all pediatric units.

Corresponding author
Service Microbiologie, Hôpital Saint Vincent de Paul, 82 avenue Denfert-Rochereau, 75014 Paris, France
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Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology
  • ISSN: 0899-823X
  • EISSN: 1559-6834
  • URL: /core/journals/infection-control-and-hospital-epidemiology
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