Aim: Nosocomial infections (NI) in neonates are associated with prolonged hospitalisation, adverse neurodevelopmental outcome and high mortality. Over the past decade, numerous prevention strategies have resulted in significant reductions in NI rates. In this review, we aim to provide an overview of current NI rates from large, geographically defined cohorts.
Methods: PubMed, Web of Science, EMBASE and Cochrane Library were searched for evidence regarding epidemiology and prevention of NI in neonates. Extracted studies were synthesised in a narrative form with experiential reflection.
Results: Despite the abundance of geographically defined incidence proportions, an epidemiological overview of NI is difficult to provide, given the lack of consensus definition for neonatal NI and different baseline populations being compared. Successful prevention efforts have focused on implementing evidence-based practices while eliminating outdated strategies. The most promising model for reduction in infection rates is based on quality improvement (QI) collaboratives and benchmarking, involving identification and implementation of best practices, selection of measurable outcomes and fostering a sense of community and transparency.
Conclusion: The preventative rather than curative approach forms the new paradigm for reducing the burden of neonatal infections. Despite progress achieved, continued work towards improved prevention practices is required in the strive towards zero NIs.