Incidence and bacteriology of burn infections at a military burn center

Burns. 2010 Jun;36(4):461-8. doi: 10.1016/j.burns.2009.10.012. Epub 2009 Dec 31.


Considerable advancements in shock resuscitation and wound management have extended the survival of burned patients, increasing the risk of serious infection. We performed a 6-year review of bacteria identification and antibiotic susceptibility records at the US Army Institute of Surgical Research Burn Center between January 2003 and December 2008. The primary goal was to identify the bacteria recovered from patients with severe burns and determine how the bacteriology changes during extended hospitalization as influenced by population and burn severity. A total of 460 patients were admitted to the burn ICU with 3507 bacteria recovered from 13,727 bacteriology cultures performed. The most prevalent organisms recovered were Acinetobacter baumannii (780), Pseudomonas aeruginosa (703), Klebsiella pneumoniae (695) and Staphylococcus aureus (469). A. baumannii was most often recovered from combat-injured (58%) and S. aureus the most frequent isolate from local (46%) burn patients. Culture recovery rate of A. baumannii and S. aureus was highest during the first 15 hospital days (73% and 71%); while a majority of P. aeruginosa and K. pneumoniae were recovered after day 15 (63% and 53%). All 4 pathogens were recovered throughout the course of hospitalization. A. baumannii was the most prevalent pathogen recovered from patients with total body surface area (TBSA) burns less than 30% (203) and 30-60% (338) while P. aeruginosa was most prevalent in patients with burns greater than 60% TBSA (292). Shifting epidemiology of bacteria recovered during extended hospitalization, bacteriology differences between combat-injured and local burn patients, and impact of % TBSA may affect patient management decisions during the course of therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Burn Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Burns / microbiology*
  • Hospitals, Military
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Wound Infection* / epidemiology
  • Wound Infection* / microbiology
  • Young Adult