Microbiology and clinical characteristics of industrial oil burns

Devin C. Kelly, Julie Rizzo, Heather C. Yun, Dana M. Blyth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Introduction: Infections complicating burns generally transition from Gram-positive to Gram-negatives over the first couple weeks, but this depends on multiple factors. The microbiology of infections complicating crude oil (CO) and hydraulic fracturing (FRAC) burns is unknown. Methods: We performed a retrospective study of patients with industrial thermal burns hospitalized >2 days with ≥1 day in the ICU between 4/2011–11/2016. Burns were oil-related (ORB; CO or FRAC) or non-oil related (NORB). Epidemiology and microbiology during the first 15 hospital days was compared. Results: 149 patients were included, with 11 FRAC and 24 CO. CO burns were more severely burned than those with FRAC and NORB (p < 0.05). Mortality was 17% and 18% for CO and FRAC burns compared to 3% in NORB (p < 0.01). More cultures were obtained from ORB than NORB (p < 0.05). ORB were associated with Stenotrophomonas maltophilia and FRAC associated with Serratia marcescens and Candida glabrata. Patients with FRAC, CO and NORB had a median of 13, 3.5, and 4 days to first positive culture respectively (p = 0.03). Conclusion: ORB were associated with more severe burns and unique microbiology. FRAC burns had longer to initial positive culture, potentially suggesting our current methodology is inadequate to diagnose infections associated with FRAC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-717
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Burn wound infections
  • Gram-negative infections
  • Hydraulic fracturing
  • Industrial burns
  • Infection
  • Oil-related burns


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