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Seasonal Variation of Common Surgical Site Infections: Does Season Matter?

  • Michael J. Durkin (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Kristen V. Dicks (a1) (a2) (a3), Arthur W. Baker (a1) (a2) (a3), Sarah S. Lewis (a1) (a2) (a3), Rebekah W. Moehring (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Luke F. Chen (a1) (a2) (a3), Daniel J. Sexton (a1) (a2) (a3) and Deverick J. Anderson (a1) (a2) (a3)...



To evaluate seasonal variation in the rate of surgical site infections (SSI) following commonly performed surgical procedures.


Retrospective cohort study.


We analyzed 6 years (January 1, 2007, through December 31, 2012) of data from the 15 most commonly performed procedures in 20 hospitals in the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network. We defined summer as July through September. First, we performed 3 separate Poisson regression analyses (unadjusted, multivariable, and polynomial) to estimate prevalence rates and prevalence rate ratios of SSI following procedures performed in summer versus nonsummer months. Then, we stratified our results to obtain estimates based on procedure type and organism type. Finally, we performed a sensitivity analysis to test the robustness of our findings.


We identified 4,543 SSI following 441,428 surgical procedures (overall prevalence rate, 1.03/100 procedures). The rate of SSI was significantly higher during the summer compared with the remainder of the year (1.11/100 procedures vs 1.00/100 procedures; prevalence rate ratio, 1.11 [95% CI, 1.04–1.19]; P=.002). Stratum-specific SSI calculations revealed higher SSI rates during the summer for both spinal (P=.03) and nonspinal (P=.004) procedures and revealed higher rates during the summer for SSI due to either gram-positive cocci (P=.006) or gram-negative bacilli (P=.004). Multivariable regression analysis and sensitivity analyses confirmed our findings.


The rate of SSI following commonly performed surgical procedures was higher during the summer compared with the remainder of the year. Summer SSI rates remained elevated after stratification by organism and spinal versus nonspinal surgery, and rates did not change after controlling for other known SSI risk factors.

Infect. Control Hosp. Epidemiol. 2015;36(9):1011–1016


Corresponding author

Address correspondence to Michael J. Durkin, MD, Duke University Medical Center, Box 102359, Rm 181 Hanes House, Durham, NC 27710 (


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Presented in part: IDWeek 2014; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; October 10, 2014 (Abstract 47427). A subset of this data (<15%; specifically including laminectomy and spinal fusion procedures) was analyzed and published by the Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine.



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Seasonal Variation of Common Surgical Site Infections: Does Season Matter?

  • Michael J. Durkin (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Kristen V. Dicks (a1) (a2) (a3), Arthur W. Baker (a1) (a2) (a3), Sarah S. Lewis (a1) (a2) (a3), Rebekah W. Moehring (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Luke F. Chen (a1) (a2) (a3), Daniel J. Sexton (a1) (a2) (a3) and Deverick J. Anderson (a1) (a2) (a3)...


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