BURKE, John P. Infection control: a problem for patient safety. The New England Journal of Medicine, Massachusetts, v. 348, n. 7, p. 651-6, 13 Feb. 2003.

Nosocomial, hospital-acquired, infections (more appropriately called health care-associated infections) are today by far the most common complications affecting hospitalized patients. Indeed, the Harvard Medical Practice Study II found that a single type of nosocomial infection – surgical-wound infection – constituted the second-largest category of adverse events. Long considered the greatest risk that the hospital environment poses to patients, nosocomial infections abruptly became the province of public health officers at the time of a nationwide epidemic of hospital-based staphylococcal infections, in 1957 and 1958. Since then, the study and control of nosocomial infections have been profoundly shaped by the discipline of public health, with its emphasis on surveillance and epidemiologic methods.