Background: Nosocomial infections (NIs) are a growing problem in healthcare today. Thus, surveillance of NIs is an important aspect of modern infection control, which aims to improve the quality of care.
Objectives: To identify overall and site-specific NI rates in dermatology patients in a German university hospital.
Methods: In a prospective study, 1450 patients were surveyed for NIs according to criteria laid down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Case records were reviewed twice a week, microbiology reports were assessed and the ward staff was consulted.
Results: Altogether, 37 NIs were identified in 35 patients, of whom two had two NIs. The overall incidence was 2.5 NIs per 100 patients, and the incidence density was 1.9 NIs per 1000 patient days. Twenty-one patients developed superficial surgical site infections (SSIs). Thirteen of the 21 SSIs occurred after surgical removal of basal cell carcinoma (BCC; 172 in total). This represents an infection rate of 7.6% after surgery for BCC.
Conclusions: Our data suggest that routine surveillance in dermatological wards is not accorded a high priority. However, surveillance of SSIs, especially following surgery for BCC, may be indicated.