Background: A hospital-wide, traditional prospective surveillance for nosocomial infections was commenced in 1992 in Centro Geral de Pediatria in Minas Gerais, Brazil, to describe the epidemiology of nosocomial infection in this pediatric hospital and to implement cross-infection prevention and control policies.
Methods: We performed a prospective cohort nosocomial infection surveillance of all patients receiving acute care according to the hospital-wide and intensive care unit components of the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System from January 1993 to December 1997 (14,892 discharges; 131,764 patient-days). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Atlanta) 1988-definitions and the Brazilian Ministry of Health-Legislation 930 (1992) were used.
Results: The average overall nosocomial infection rate per 1000 patient-days was 8.9 in units 2 and 3 and 16.4 in the pediatric intensive care unit. Over time, the overall hospital infection rate decreased from 16.6 nosocomial infections per 1000 patient-days in 1993 to 7.0 in 1997 (P <.05). We believe this can be attributed to interventions and data reporting during the period. The five most frequent sites of infections were eye-ear-nose-throat (38%), skin (22%), pneumonia (12%), soft tissue (5%) and laboratory-confirmed bloodstream infection (4%). In the pediatric intensive care unit, the most frequent nosocomial infection sites were pneumonia related to mechanical ventilators (22%), with rates ranging from 0 to 42 per 1000 ventilator-days; and sepsis related to central lines (11%), with rates ranging from 0 to 32 per 1000 central line-days.
Conclusions: Describing the epidemiology of nosocomial infections in this hospital enabled us to establish infection occurrence, distribution, and expected incidence, as well as to recognize trends and keep track of possible outbreaks. The knowledge acquired through this surveillance allowed us to target more specific and continuous quality improvement projects, to upgrade health care quality in pediatric public hospitals in Brazil, and to implement preventive strategies. Methods from the National Nosocomial Infections Surveillance System can be successfully applied in pediatric public hospitals in Brazil.