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Gram-negative infection remains a major contributor to morbidity, mortality, and cost of care. In the absence of comparative multinational epidemiological studies specific to burn patients, we sought to review literature trends in emerging Gram-negative burn wound infections within the past 60 years. Mapping trends in these organisms, although in a minority compared with the six "ESKAPE" pathogens currently being targeted by the Infectious Diseases Society of North America, would identify pathogens of increasing concern to burn physicians in the near future and develop patient profiles that may predict susceptibility to infection. Aeromonas hydrophila infection was identified as the emerging pathogen of note, constituting 76% of the identified publications. A. hydrophila constituted 96% of Aeromonas spp. isolates (mortality 10.7%). The following patient profile indicated predisposition to Aeromonas infection: mean age (mean 33.7 years, range 17 <= R <= 80, SD = 15.6); TBSA (mean 41.1%, range 8% <= R <= 80%, SD = 15.2); full-thickness skin burns (mean 27.7%, range 3% <= R <= 60%, SD = 16.6); and a male predominance (81.3%). Other pathogens included Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Vibrio spp., Chryseobacterium spp., Alcaligenes xylosoxidans, and Cedecia lapigei. Arresting the thermal injury by untreated water was the common predisposing factor. These emerging infections clearly constitute a minority of Gram-negative bacterial infections in burn patients at present. However, these are the infections most likely to pose significant clinical challenge because of the high prevalence of multidrug resistance, rapid acquisition of multidrug resistance, high mortality, and ubiquity in the natural environment. This article therefore presents a rationale for understanding and recognizing the role of these emerging infections in burn patients.

(C) 2011 The American Burn Association