Infectious Disease Compendium

Burn infections


Cultures, often quantitative, to determine the cause of infection.

105/gram of tissue usually means infection.

Epidemiologic Risks

Getting a burn.


Depends on the extent and degree of burn, virtually anything can be a pathogen in dead, burned tissue.

MDRO and fungi are particular issues.

Empiric Therapy

Depends of the microbiology.

However, a recent meta-analysis (BMJ full text) suggests

  • In burns patients systemic antibiotic prophylaxis given the first 4-14 days significantly reduces all cause mortality by nearly a half; limited perioperative prophylaxis reduces wound infections but not mortality.
  • Topical antibiotic prophylaxis applied to burn wounds had no beneficial effects.


Honey is better than antibiotic cream for minor burns for preventing infections and decreasing scar formation.


Last Update: 05/27/18.