Infectious disease outbreaks in nursing homes: an unappreciated hazard for frail elderly persons

Clin Infect Dis. 2003 Apr 1;36(7):870-6. doi: 10.1086/368197. Epub 2003 Mar 19.


The common occurrence and dire consequences of infectious disease outbreaks in nursing homes often go unrecognized and unappreciated. Nevertheless, these facilities provide an ideal environment for acquisition and spread of infection: susceptible residents who share sources of air, food, water, and health care in a crowded institutional setting. Moreover, visitors, staff, and residents constantly come and go, bringing in pathogens from both the hospital and the community. Outbreaks of respiratory and gastrointestinal infection predominate in this setting, but outbreaks of skin and soft-tissue infection and infections caused by antimicrobial-resistant bacteria also occur with some frequency.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Communicable Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Communicable Diseases / microbiology
  • Communicable Diseases / virology
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Escherichia coli O157
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / epidemiology
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Orthomyxoviridae
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / microbiology
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / virology
  • Salmonella
  • Skin Diseases / epidemiology
  • Skin Diseases / microbiology
  • Soft Tissue Infections / epidemiology
  • Soft Tissue Infections / microbiology
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Vancomycin Resistance