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What is nosocomial? Large variation in hospital choice of numerators and denominators affects rates of hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

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We calculated hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (HO-MRSA) rates for Orange County, California, hospitals using survey and state data. Numerators were variably defined as HO-MRSA occurring more than 48 hours (37%), more than 2 days (30%), and more than 3 days (33%) postadmission. Survey-reported denominators differed from state-reported patient-days. Numerator and denominator choices substantially impacted HO-MRSA rates.

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