Nosocomial infections are diseases or infections that health care professionals give to their patients. The term "nosocomial infection" should not be limited to just the hospital setting. People who reside in nursing homes or who have had short-term procedures have also been found to develop infections due to the same spectrum of pathogens.
The concept of infection control was originated by the work of Ignaz Semmelweis. During the 1840's he was working in Vienna General Hospital where there were two wards for birthing. One ward was staffed by medical students and the other entirely by midwives. Semmelweis noticed that women were much more likely to die if they delivered on the floor with the medical students, than by the ward attended by midwives. The death rate on the medical ward was 10 % while it was only 3 % on the midwife ward.