Although the published incidence of viral neonatal nosocomial infection is considerably lower than bacterial nosocomial infection , significant mortality and morbidity occur in the estimated 1 percent of infants who acquire a viral infection after admission to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) .
The epidemiology, and the viruses and their clinical manifestations of nosocomial viral infection in the NICU will be reviewed here.
The incidence of neonatal nosocomial viral infections has probably been underestimated because viral studies are not routinely obtained in neonates. The lack of testing for viral infection is due to the overlap of clinical signs and symptoms of viral infections from other conditions seen in the critically ill neonate, the difficulty in obtaining laboratory confirmation of a viral infection, and the lack of effective therapeutic interventions. Published reports have generally focused upon outbreaks of viral infections in neonatal intensive care unit (NICUs).
In an analysis of a worldwide database of healthcare-associated outbreaks, about two-thirds of reported neonatal viral outbreaks occurred in NICUs . The causative viral agents and their relative frequencies were:
●Rotavirus – 23 percent