A six month prospective study of nosocomial lower respiratory tract infection was conducted in four general surgery wards and one urological surgery ward. Thirty eight cases were identified, representing 1% of the surgical admissions to these wards. Twenty eight of the infections followed abdominal surgery. Six patients died, five of whom had pre-existing cardiorespiratory disease. Potential pathogens were isolated in 21 patients, the commonest organisms being Streptococcus pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae.
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