oa Southern African Journal of Epidemiology and Infection - An approach to the patient suspected of having a hospital-acquired infection

Volume 20, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1015-8782
  • E-ISSN: 2220-1084



The diagnosis of hospital-acquired infections or sepsis is often difficult. The ACCP/SCCM Consensus Conference definition of infection refers to the presence of bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. Their definition of sepsis suggests that there should be proven or suspected infection in combination with two or more of the four features of the systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) reflected in Table 1. These non-specific features are not extremely helpful in the clinical situation as they are common to many hospitalised patients even in the absence of infection/sepsis. Consequently, attempts at proving the existence of an infective process are of paramount importance.

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