The role of understaffing and overcrowding in recurrent outbreaks of staphylococcal infection in a neonatal special-care unit

R. W. Haley, D. A. Bregman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

214 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Understaffing and overcrowding in the neonatal nursery are thought to contribute to the spread of infectious diseases among neonates, although little scientific documentation exists to support the view. In the present investigation of recurring epidemics in one nursery, the incidence rate of clustered staphylococcal infection was 16 times higher after periods when the infant:nurse ratio exceeded 7, seven times higher after periods when the infant census exceeded 33, three times higher in the summer months, and 1.5 times higher in the absence of bathing with hexachlorophene. All four factors were significantly associated with infection in a multivariate statistical model which predicted the occurrence of infection well (goodness-of-fit χ2 = 6.08; df 9; P = 0.73). These results support the contention that staphylococcal outbreaks periodically resulted when, in the presence of overcrowding, serious understaffing made frequent handwashing between infant contacts difficult. Elimination of these problems appears to be important in reducing cross infection in the nursery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)875-885
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume145
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1982

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Staphylococcal Infections
Nurseries
Disease Outbreaks
Hexachlorophene
Hand Disinfection
Statistical Models
Censuses
Cross Infection
Infection
Documentation
Communicable Diseases
Nurses
Newborn Infant
Incidence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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The role of understaffing and overcrowding in recurrent outbreaks of staphylococcal infection in a neonatal special-care unit. / Haley, R. W.; Bregman, D. A.

In: Journal of Infectious Diseases, Vol. 145, No. 6, 1982, p. 875-885.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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