U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Burns, 36, (2010), e136–e139


Infection is a leading cause of mortality in burn patients, typically due to bacterial pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, less commonly fungi, and possibly viruses. In non-burn patients with underlying pulmonary or cutaneous disease, nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) have become an increasingly recognized cause of infection, especially in patients who are immunocompromised. Patients with severe burns might have higher rates of NTM infections due to inherent risks associated with the burn injury: compromised skin integrity, immunocompromised state, inhalation injury, and frequent use of indwelling vascular catheters. To date there have been no reports describing the incidence of mycobacterial infections in burn patients. We describe a case of Mycobacterium abscessus bacteremia and clinical record review of patients admitted to the US Department of Defense burn center with severe burns for other evidence of NTM infections from 1 May 2000 to 30 April 2009.