Surveillance of Burn Wound Infections: A Proposal for Definitions

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The diagnosis of burn wound infections is a subjective art, with no recent attempts to standardize or validate the definitions of terms used to discuss such infections. The Centers for Disease Control included definitions of types of burn wound infections in its definitions for nosocomial infections in 1988. Although the other Centers for Disease Control criteria for nosocomial infections have epidemiological applications, its criteria for burn wound infections have neither clinical nor epidemiological value to burn centers and their health care providers. With the approval of the Board of Trustees of the American Burn Association, the authors of this article formed a working subcommittee of the Committee on the Organization and Delivery of Burn Care. Definitions of burn wound infections are presented for consideration for application in either of 2 areas: (1) surveillance of burn wound infections in burn centers and (2) standardized criteria for multicenter clinical trials or national registries.

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