Systemic sepsis resulting from invasive infection remains the leading cause of death among patients hospitalized with major thermal injury. Prevention of infection and death in burn patients requires a thorough knowledge of the multiple predisposing factors involved and expert application of appropriate diagnostic, supportive, and therapeutic modalities. The improved survival in this population is a result of all of these factors, not any one. It is this principle and the adherence to a treatment program that encompasses all the modalities which are so essential in the care of burn patients if continuing progress is to be made in this field. This article describes the current management of infection and infection control in burn patients. The burn wound and pulmonary system remain the major foci for infection in this population. Less common types of infection include suppurative thrombophlebitis, suppurative chondritis, bacterial endocarditis, urinary tract sepsis, sinusitis, intra-abdominal sepsis, and infections of the eyes. Prophylaxis protocols involve proper control of the environment and an anticipation of bacterial colonization. A number of specific monitoring and treatment guidelines have evolved that have proved effective over the years in minimizing morbidity and mortality.
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