To identify overall and site-specific nosocomial infection (NI) rates in patients receiving neurological intensive care therapy, a prospective study was started in 1997 in the ten-bed neurological intensive-care unit (NICU) of the University Hospital of Freiburg, Germany. Case records and microbiology reports were reviewed twice a week, and ward staff were consulted. NI were defined according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) criteria and were categorised by specific infection site. Within 30 months, 505 patients with a total of 4,873 patient days were studied (mean length of stay: 9.6 days). 122 NI were identified in 96 patients (74 patients with one, 18 with two and 4 with three infections. An incidence of 24.2/100 patients and incidence density of 25.0/1,000 patient days of NI in the neurological ICU were documented. Site-specific incidence rates and incidence densities were: 1.4 bloodstream infections per 100 patients (1.9 central line-associated BSIs per 1,000 central line-days), 11.7 pneumonias per 100 patients (20.4 ventilator-associated pneumonias per 1,000 ventilator-days), 8.7 urinary tract infections per 100 patients (10.0 urinary catheter-associated urinary track infections (UTIs) per 1,000 urinary catheter-days). Additionally, 0.4 cases of meningitis, 0.8 ventriculitis, and 1.2 other infections (catheter-related local infection, diarrhea) were documented per 1,000 patient days. 15% of nosocomial pathogens were A. baumannii (due to a outbreak of an nosocomial pneumonia with A. baumannii), 13% S. aureus, 10% E. coli, 7% CNS,7% Bacteroides spp., 7% Enterobacter spp., 6,5% Klebsiella spp.,5.9% enterococci, 5.9% streptococci, and 4.7% Pseudomonas spp. In eight cases of NI no pathogen could be isolated. In future, data on NI in NICUs should be assessed in greater detail, both to improve the quality of care and serve as a basis for identification and implementation of the most effective measures by which to prevent these infections in patients receiving intensive neurological care.