Daniel J. Sexton, MD

Director of DICON, Professor of Medicine at Duke
Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON)
Duke University Medical Center

Email Address





  • MD, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (Illinois), 1971
  • Medical Epidemiology, Epidemic Intelligence Service, Centers for Disease Control, 1972-1974
  • Medicine, University of Missouri Medical Center, 1975-1977
  • Infectious Disease, Duke University Medical Center, 1974-1975
Clinical Interests:

Hospital-acquired infections, surgical wound and bone and joint infections, bloodstream and staphylococcal infections

Research Interests:

During the past 8 years my research interests have changed from a focus on tick-borne disease and endocarditis to a primary focus on healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Specifically, I have been interested in HAIs in community hospitals. Using prospective data collected as part of our surveillance activities in the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network (DICON), I and my colleagues have focused on these specific areas of research: 

• The accuracy and reliability of surveillance definitions used to document and trend rates of HAIs 
• Outcomes of HAIs (both financial and clinical) with particular emphasis on bloodstream and surgical site infections 
• Trends in HAIs due to pathogens resistant to common antimicrobial agents 
• Temporal and geographic variations in the occurrence of pathogens such as methicillin-resistant S. aureus, E coli and Klebsiella pneumonia 
• The prevention and control of HAIs with particular emphasis on the potential role of the environment in the transmission of HAIs 

As the principal investigator on one of the 5 national epicenter grants funded by the Centers for Disease control I, along with my co-investigators from the Duke and University of North Carolina Division of Infectious Disease, are involved in a 5-year prospective study of the potential benefit of enhanced cleaning methods (such as the use of ultraviolet light emitters) in the prevention of HAIs. This study involves 9 hospitals in North Carolina and Virginia and will include a trial of 4 different cleaning methods utilized sequentially but randomly in these study hospitals over a 28-month time period. Additionally the Duke Epicenter is also undertaking prospective trials investigating the utility and reliability of new (streamlined) definitions of ventilator-associated pneumonia. 

Key words that characterize my work: surgical site infections and nosocomial infections.

Representative Publications:
  • Anderson, DJ; Miller, BA; Chen, LF; Adcock, LH; Cook, E; Cromer, AL; Louis, S; Thacker, PA; Sexton, DJ. The network approach for prevention of healthcare-associated infections: long-term effect of participation in the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. 2011;32:315-322.  Abstract
  • Miller, BA; Chen, LF; Sexton, DJ; Anderson, DJ. Comparison of the burdens of hospital-onset, healthcare facility-associated Clostridium difficile Infection and of healthcare-associated infection due to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in community hospitals. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. 2011;32:387-390.  Abstract
  • Sexton, DJ; Miller, BA; Anderson, DJ. Measuring the effect of inappropriate initial antibiotic therapy on outcomes of patients with Gram-negative sepsis: An imprecise science. Critical Care Medicine. 2011;39:199-200.  Abstract
  • Sexton, DJ; Chen, LF; Anderson, DJ. Current definitions of central line-associated bloodstream infection: is the emperor wearing clothes?. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. 2010;31:1286-1289.  Abstract
  • Freeman, JT; Sexton, DJ; Anderson, DJ. Emergence of extended-spectrum beta-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli in community hospitals throughout North Carolina: a harbinger of a wider problem in the United States?. Clinical Infectious Diseases. 2009;49:e30-e32.  Abstract