Difference Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection l Nosocomial vs Community Acquired Infection


The key difference between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection is that the patients contract nosocomial infection (or the hospital-acquired infection) within a healthcare facility. But patients contract community-acquired infection outside a healthcare facility.

Let’s discuss more details on these two infections; especially, the definition of these infections, the causatives of both these diseases, how these two infections spread, and how to prevent them.

CONTENTS

1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Nosocomial Infection
3. What is Community Acquired Infection
4. Similarities Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection
5. Side by Side Comparison – Nosocomial vs Community Acquired Infection in Tabular Form
6. Summary

What is Nosocomial Infection?

We can describe the following set of infections as nosocomial or hospital-acquired infections;

  • Infections contracted within the hospital
  • The infections contracted within the hospital but not become clinically apparent until after the discharge of the patient
  • Infections contracted by the health care professionals as a result of their direct or indirect contact with the patients
Difference Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection l Nosocomial vs Community Acquired Infection

Figure 01: Nosocomial Infection Agents

Common microorganisms causing hospital-acquired infections are as follows,

Difference Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection l Nosocomial vs Community Acquired Infection

Routes of Spread

  • Direct or indirect contact with body fluids of infected patients
  • Airborne spread
  • Fomite transmission

Prevention of Hospital Acquired Infections

  • Proper disposal of the waste materials
  • Maintenance of general cleanliness
  • Aseptic techniques
  • Isolation of patients having symptoms suggestive of contagious diseases
  • Documentation and maintenance of records regarding previous infections in the setting
  • Proper maintenance of the equipment

What is Community Acquired Infection?

Community-acquired infections are the infections that patients contract outside the hospital. In other words, they are the infections that become clinically apparent within 48 hours of the hospital admission or has had the infection when admitted to the hospital for some other reason.

Difference Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection l Nosocomial vs Community Acquired Infection

Common causative agents of community-acquired infections are as follows,

Difference Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection l Nosocomial vs Community Acquired Infection

What is the Similarity Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection?

Both nosocomial and community-acquired infection include infectious diseases that transmit via the following routes;

  • Direct or indirect contact with body fluids of infected patients
  • Airborne spread
  • Fomite transmission
  • Contaminated food and water

What is the Difference Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection?

Though both have some similarities in the transmission routes, the difference between nosocomial and community acquired infection is on from where the patient contracted that infection. From the above discussions, it is apparent that the nosocomial infections are the infections the patients’ contract during the hospital stay. On the contrary, the patient contract community acquired infections before getting admitted to the hospital.

Difference Between Nosocomial and Community Acquired Infection l Nosocomial vs Community Acquired Infection

Summary – Nosocomial vs Community Acquired Infection

Nosocomial infections, also known as hospital-acquired infections are contracted by the patients during their stay in a healthcare facility. Community-acquired infections, on the other hand, are contracted outside a health care facility. This is the key difference between nosocomial and community acquired infection.

Reference:

1.Slack, Richard, et al. Medical Microbiology. Edited by David Greenwood, 8th ed., Churchill Livingstone, 2012.

Image Courtesy:

1.”Entercoccus sp2 lores”By  Janice Haney Carr (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia  
2.”health, programs, reconstruction, hospitals, upgraded, health care, services, Afghanistan, community” by Ben Barber, USAID (CC0) via pixnio

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