Medical Definition of Infection, nosocomial

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Infection, nosocomial: An infection acquired in a hospital. Specifically an infection that was not present or incubating prior to the patient being admitted to the hospital, but occurred after admittance to the hospital.

After antibiotics came into common usage in the second half of the 20th century, bacteria resistant to antibiotics were selected for, especially in hospitals. Nosocomial infections proliferated that were (and are) resistant to antibiotics.

"Nosocomial" comes from two Greek words -- "nosus" meaning "disease" + "komeion" meaning "to take care of" -- disease contracted by a patient while under medical care.

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018