Surveillance for nosocomial infection and disease is a critical component in an integrated and highly effective infection control program. Surveillance activities provide a sensory role to guide ongoing control practices so that they are focused and efficient. Without input from surveillance results, infection control practices are likely to be guided more by emotion and opinion than by data and evidence. This article discusses issues to be considered when developing effective nosocomial infection surveillance programs as well as the historical perspective of surveillance efforts for nosocomial infection in human health care settings.
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