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Burns. 1999 May;25(3):242-6.

Beta-haemolytic Streptococcus infection in burns.

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1
Al-Babtain Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns, Kuwait.

Abstract

Group A beta haemolytic Streptococcus has been one of the most serious infections in the burn patients resulting in severe cellulitis and sepsis. Penicillin has been used ever since its introduction as prophylaxis against these conditions. Penicillin prophylaxis was used in our burn unit as well without any serious evaluation until December 1992. This prospective study was therefore, undertaken to evaluate the incidence of beta haemolytic Streptococcus infection in burn patients, and its clinical outcome over a period of 5 years in the absence of prophylaxis with penicillin. 14 of the 1213 burn patients admitted to the Al-Babtain Centre for Plastic Surgery and Burns from January 1993 to December 1997 had either colonization or infection with Streptococcus spp. Their mean age was 15 years (range 1 month to 52 years) and the mean burn surface area was 20% (range 5 to 90%). Streptococci were isolated from burn wounds in 10 patients, throat in 3 and blood culture in 1. Group A Streptococcus was found in 5, group C in 3 and group D in 6 patients. In all patients except one the organisms were isolated > or =72 h post burn. The infections were successfully controlled by antibiotic and no detrimental effect was observed either on wound healing or skin graft take. There was no mortality amongst these 14 patients. The study showed that only 1.1% of the burn patients in our unit acquired Streptococcus of which only one third comprised of group A. This study thus demonstrates that the practice of penicillin prophylaxis during the first five post burn days may not be of any value and therefore, deserves discontinuation in units where the incidence of this organism is minuscule.

PMID:
10323609
DOI:
10.1016/s0305-4179(98)00167-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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