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Epidemic of Surgical Wound Infections in Wartime Sarajevo

  • Zeljko Ler (a1), Branko Vujovic (a2) and Sead Jazic (a2)



An epidemic of surgical wound infections observed at the State Hospital of Sarajevo during June-September 1992 is reported.


A cross-sectional survey of 138 surgical patients with wound infection treated by the Department of Surgery of the State Hospital of Sarajevo was performed in mid-September and again in mid-November 1992. A preliminary evaluation of the bactericidal effectiveness of a new antiseptic preparation called DI-ASEPT also was done.


The frequency of wound infection was 24.4% in September and 19.2% in November. Pseudomonas species was the primary etiologic agent in this epidemic. DI-ASEPT was as effective as povidone-iodine in producing wound asepsis.


Because of limited resources large numbers of casualties, and an extremely adverse environment as a result of war that has affected hygienic conditions at the State Hospital of Sarajevo, a high frequency of contaminated or dirty operations were performed. This was the primary reason for the observed increase in wound infections. After hygienic conditions were restored, the epidemic of wound infections was terminated.


Corresponding author

Principal Investigator, Disaster Reanimatology Study Group, International Resuscitation Research Center, Department of Anesthesiology/CCM, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15260USA


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1. Cruse, P: Surgical infection: incisional wounds. In: Bennett, JV, Brachman, PS (eds.): Hospital Infections. 2nd ed, 1986.
2. Drndarevic, D: Surveillance of Hospital Infections: Principles and Practice. PhD Dissertation, Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1991. (In Serbo-Croatian).


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Epidemic of Surgical Wound Infections in Wartime Sarajevo

  • Zeljko Ler (a1), Branko Vujovic (a2) and Sead Jazic (a2)


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