Iranian Journal of Microbiology 2016. 8(3):181-186.

Anaerobic infections in surgical wards –A two year study
Padmaja Ananth Shenoy, Shashidhar Vishwanath, Ryumzook Targain, Seema Shetty, Gabriel Sunil Rodrigues, Chiranjay Mukhopadhyay, Kiran Chawla


Background and Objectives: Anaerobic bacteria are recognized as important pathogens in surgical infections. However, they are the most overlooked microorganisms by the clinic and the laboratory because of the tedious culture techniques with longer turn-around times. The study was aimed to analyze the frequency of anaerobic bacterial surgical infections and their predisposing factors.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective study was conducted over a period of two years including patients with surgical infections. The specimens were processed by Gram staining, aerobic and anaerobic culture. The anaerobic bacteria were isolated using standard procedures. The predisposing factors and clinical presentation were studied in these patients.

Results: A total of 261 specimens were received from patients with diverse infections from surgical wards. Ninety-one anaerobes were isolated from 64 (24.5%) surgical patients with a predominance of Gram-negative bacilli (37.4%). Anaerobic bacteria as monomicrobial isolates were seen in 21.9% isolates. Anaerobic bacterial isolation along with aerobic bacteria was seen in 71.9% of patients and polymicrobial anaerobic growth was detected in 6.3% of patients. Diabetes mellitus (28, 43.8%) was found to be the most frequent predisposing factor. Bacteroides fragilis group (20.9%) were the most frequent anaerobic Gram-negative bacilli followed by Prevotella spp. (12.1%). Peptostreptococcus anaerobius was the predominant anaerobic cocci isolated (14.3%). Necrotizing fascitis (34.4%) was the most common clinical presentation with anaerobic etiology followed by deep seated abscesses (23.4%).

Conclusion: Anaerobic bacteria were isolated from a significant proportion of surgical infections. To avoid therapeutic failures, anaerobic bacteria in surgical infections need to be recognized by surgeons and laboratorians.


Anaerobic bacteria; Gram negative bacilli; Polymicrobial; Surgical infections

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