Objective: To document the nosocomial infection rate in a single neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in terms of patient workload and device utilization.
Methodology: Nosocomial infections have been identified and documented by the methodology described by the National Nosocomial Infection Surveillance System (NNIS), Centres for Disease Control, Atlanta. In addition, antibiotic usage has been surveyed in the NICU and standardized measures of patient exposure to antibiotics stratified by birthweight and gestational age have been described.
Results: Overall nosocomial infection rates compared favourably with the published NNIS figures at 6.2 infections per 100 admissions or 4.8 per 1000 patient days. Infection rates were significantly higher in lower birthweight groups. Device-related infection rates in each birthweight cohort were also very close to published figures and varied less with birthweight group. Antibiotic exposure averaged 12% of total admission days, less than previously published data.
Conclusions: The NNIS system is applicable to Australian NICU and provides an effective tool for monitoring infection episodes.