Staphylococcus aureus is associated with high microbial load in chronic wounds

Document Type


Peer Reviewed


Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Wounds-a Compendium of Clinical Research and Practice

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The purpose of this study was to describe the association of Staphylococcus aureus with clinical and microbiological indicators of localized infection in a sample of chronic wounds. Sixty-six subjects with chronic wounds were assessed for signs and symptoms of localized infection, and viable wound tissue spec mens were obtained for quantitative microbiological analyses. The study wounds were then grouped according to whether or not they contained S. aureus, and statistically compared for differences in the expression of clinical signs of infection, microbial load (i.e., number of organisms per gram of tissue), and diversity of species (i.e., number of different species present in the wound.) S. aureus wounds were sign ficantly more likely to contain greater than 10(5) organisms per gram of tissue than non-S. aureus wounds (Fisher's exact p=<0.001) even though S. aureus was the predominant organism (i.e., organism with the highest number of colony-forming units per gram of tissue) in only 19 (29%) wounds. There were no differences between the groups in terms of clinical signs of infection or diversity of microbial species. The relationship between S. aureus and microbial load needs to be examined further using prospective study designs that would allow serial microbiological analyses of chronic wounds and measurement of wound outcomes. The specific role that S. aureus plays in increasing microbial load and its independent contribution to poor wound outcomes could then be more precisely identified.

Published Article/Book Citation

Wounds-a Compendium of Clinical Research and Practice, 16:8 (2004) pp.251-257.

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