Multidrug-Resistant and Virulent Organisms Trauma Infections: Trauma Infectious Disease Outcomes Study Initiative

Katrin Mende*, Kevin S. Akers, Stuart D. Tyner, Jason W. Bennett, Mark P. Simons, Dana M. Blyth, Ping Li, Laveta Stewart, David R. Tribble

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Introduction: During the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, increased incidence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) organisms, as well as polymicrobial wounds and infections, complicated the management of combat trauma-related infections. Multidrug resistance and wound microbiology are a research focus of the Trauma Infectious Disease Outcomes Study (TIDOS), an Infectious Disease Clinical Research Program, Uniformed Services University, research protocol. To conduct comprehensive microbiological research with the goal of improving the understanding of the complicated etiology of wound infections, the TIDOS MDR and Virulent Organisms Trauma Infections Initiative (MDR/VO Initiative) was established as a collaborative effort with the Brooke Army Medical Center, Naval Medical Research Center, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research, and Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. We provide a review of the TIDOS MDR/VO Initiative and summarize published findings. Methods: Antagonism and biofilm formation of commonly isolated wound bacteria (e.g., ESKAPE pathogens - Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter spp.), antimicrobial susceptibility patterns, and clinical outcomes are being examined. Isolates collected from admission surveillance swabs, as part of infection control policy, and clinical infection workups were retained in the TIDOS Microbiological Repository and associated clinical data in the TIDOS database. Results: Over the TIDOS study period (June 2009 to December 2014), more than 8,300 colonizing and infecting isolates were collected from military personnel injured with nearly one-third of isolates classified as MDR. At admission to participating U.S. military hospitals, 12% of wounded warriors were colonized with MDR Gram-negative bacilli. Furthermore, 27% of 913 combat casualties with ≥1 infection during their trauma hospitalization had MDR Gram-negative bacterial infections. Among 335 confirmed combat-related extremity wound infections (2009-2012), 61% were polymicrobial and comprised various combinations of Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria, yeast, fungi, and anaerobes. Escherichia coli was the most common Gram-negative bacilli isolated from clinical workups, as well as the most common colonizing MDR secondary to extended-spectrum β-lactamase resistance. Assessment of 479 E. coli isolates collected from wounded warriors found 188 pulsed-field types (PFTs) from colonizing isolates and 54 PFTs from infecting isolates without significant overlap across combat theaters, military hospitals, and study years. A minority of patients with colonizing E. coli isolates developed subsequent infections with the same E. coli strain. Enterococcus spp. were most commonly isolated from polymicrobial wound infections (53% of 204 polymicrobial cultures). Patients with Enterococcus infections were severely injured with a high proportion of lower extremity amputations and genitourinary injuries. Approximately 65% of polymicrobial Enterococcus infections had other ESKAPE organisms isolated. As biofilms have been suggested as a cause of delayed wound healing, wound infections with persistent recovery of bacteria (isolates of same organism collected ≥14 days apart) and nonrecurrent bacterial isolates were assessed. Biofilm production was significantly associated with recurrent bacteria isolation (97% vs. 59% with nonrecurrent isolates; P < 0.001); however, further analysis is needed to confirm biofilm formation as a predictor of persistent wound infections. Conclusions: The TIDOS MDR/VO Initiative provides comprehensive and detailed data of major microbial threats associated with combat-related wound infections to further the understanding of wound etiology and potentially identify infectious disease countermeasures, which may lead to improvements in combat casualty care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-51
Number of pages10
JournalMilitary Medicine
StatePublished - 1 May 2022
Externally publishedYes


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