Changing pattern of fungal infection in burn patients

Burns, 04/26/2012

Sarabahi S et al. – The glaring fact which emerged from the studies was the rising incidence of nonalbicans Candida infection compared to Candida albicans, especially C. tropicalis and C. krusei which are more severe in nature and associated with a higher mortality. This signifies that there is a shift of FWI in burns from commensal organism, i.e. C. albicans to pathogenic nosocomial organisms, i.e. C. nonalbicans.

Methods

  • Following a pilot study done in the unit in 1year, i.e. January 2008–March 2009 in 71 patients where 28% (20 patients) of the burn wound biopsies from suspected cases showed fungal wound invasion (FWI), a detailed study was planned in order to study the epidemiology of fungal infection in burns in the unit wherein routine wound biopsies in 100 patients were sent on 7th, 14th and 21st postburn day over a one year period (July 2009-June 2010).

Results

  • 12 patients (12%) were diagnosed with FWI on culture.
  • This was then followed by another study in a 9month period (July 2010-March 2011) when wound samples for only 36 patients in whom there was clinical suspicion of fungal infection were sent.
  • 16 of these patients were diagnosed with fungal wound invasion (FWI) thus establishing an incidence of 44% from suspected cases.
  • These studies showing the increase in fungal infection in the unit have therefore made us wiser, increased the awareness and the accuracy in diagnosing this uncommon infection in extensive burns where patient is not only severely immunocompromised but also has many other risk factors making them more vulnerable to fungal invasion.

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