A prospective study of fungal and bacterial flora of burn wounds was carried out from February 2004 to February 2005 at the Burns Unit of Hospital Regional da Asa Norte, Brasília, Brazil. During the period of the study, 203 patients were treated at the Burns Unit. Wound swab cultures were assessed at weekly intervals for four weeks. Three hundred and fifty four sampling procedures (surface swabs) were performed from the burn wounds. The study revealed that bacterial colonization reached 86.6% within the first week. Although the gram-negative organisms, as a group, were more predominant, Staphylococcus aureus
(28.4%) was the most prevalent organism in the first week. It was however surpassed by Pseudomonas aeruginosa
form third week onwards. For S. aureus
and P. aeruginosa
vancomycin and polymyxin were found to be the most effective drugs. Most of the isolates showed high level resistance to antimicrobial agents. Fungi were found to colonize the burn wound late during the second week postburn, with a peak incidence during the third and fourth weeks. Species identification of fungi revealed that Candida tropicalis
was the most predominant, followed by Candida parapsilosis
. It is crucial for every burn institution to determine the specific pattern of burn wound microbial colonization, the time-related changes in the dominant flora, and the antimicrobial sensitivity profiles. This would enable early treatment of imminent septic episodes with proper empirical systemic antibiotics, without waiting for culture results, thus improving the overall infection-related morbidity and mortality.