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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Nosocomial infection in a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), South Korea

Ihn Sook Jeong1*, Jae Sim Jeong2 and Eun Ok Choi3

Author Affiliations

1 College of Nursing, Pusan National University, Busan, South Korea

2 Department of Clinical Nursing, College of Medicine, University of Ulsan, Seoul, South Korea

3 Department of Nursing, College of Medicine, Inje University, Busan, South Korea

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2006, 6:103  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-6-103

Published: 23 June 2006



This study aimed to determine the occurrence of nosocomial infections (NIs), including infection rates, main infection sites, and common microorganisms. Patients included in the study were taken from a newborn intensive care unit (NICU), in a hospital in South Korea.


A retrospective cohort study was performed by reviewing chart. The subjects were 489 neonates who were admitted to the NICU, survived longer than 72 hours, and not transferred to another unit, between Jan. 1. 1995 to Sep. 30, 1999. NIs were identified according to the NNIS definition. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics.


Cumulative incidence rate for NIs was 30.3 neonates out of 100 admissions, with a total of 44.6 infections. The incidence density was average 10.2 neonates and 15.1 infections per 1000 patient days. The most common infections were pneumonia (28%), bloodstream infection (26%), and conjunctivitis (22%). Major pathogens were Gram-positives such as Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci. The factors associated with NI was less than 1500 g of birth weight, less than 32 weeks of gestational age, and less than 8 of apgar score. There's no statistical difference in discharge status between two groups, but hospital stay was longer in subjects with nosocomial infection than those without infection.


Although the distribution of pathogens was similar to previous reports, a high rate of nosocomial infection and in particular conjunctivitis was observed in this study that merits further evaluation.