Pathogens present in acute mangled extremities from Afghanistan and subsequent pathogen recovery

Timothy E. Wallum, Heather C. Yun, Elizabeth A. Rini, Kristina Carter, Charles H. Guymon, Kevin S. Akers, Stuart D. Tyner, Christopher E. White, Clinton K. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Given the changing epidemiology of infecting pathogens in combat casualties, we evaluated bacteria and fungi in acute traumatic wounds from Afghanistan. From January 2013 to February 2014, 14 mangled lower extremities from 10 explosive-device injured casualties were swabbed for culture at Role 3 facilities. Bacteria were recovered from all patients on the date of injury. Pathogens recovered during routine patient care were recorded. The median injury severity score was 29, median initial Role 3/4 blood product support was 32 units, and median evacuation time was 42 minutes to first surgical care. Gram-positive bacteria were found in some wounds but not methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus. Most wounds were colonized with low-virulence, environmental gram-negative bacteria, and not recovered again during therapy, reflecting wound contamination. Only one wound had the same bacteria (E. cloacae) throughout care at the Role 3, 4, and 5 facilities. Three cultures from two patients had multidrug-resistant bacteria (E. cloacae, E. coli), all detected at Role 5 facilities. Molds were not detected at Role 3, whereas one patient had a mold at Role 4 and 5. Mangled lower extremity injuries have a high contamination rate with environmental organisms, which are not typically associated with infections during the course of the patient's care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015


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