Current Trauma Reports

, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 309–315 | Cite as

Contaminated Wounds: Fresh Water, Salt Water, and Agricultural Contamination

  • Brent Emigh
  • Marc D. TrustEmail author
Soft Tissue Injuries (C Brown, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Soft Tissue Injuries


Purpose of Review

This review focuses on the appropriate management of contaminated wounds sustained in the freshwater, saltwater, and agricultural settings.

Recent Findings

While these wounds can be associated with polymicrobial pathogens and infections, Aeromonas spp. and Mycobacterium marinum are commonly seen in fresh water wounds, while Vibrio vulnificus is a common pathogen in saltwater wounds. Each of these organisms can be extremely virulent. Pathogens found in agricultural contamination can vary widely, but can be associated with fungal organism found in the soil. Management of these soft tissue injuries includes early irrigation and debridement, avoiding primary closure, and appropriate antibiotic selection.


This review will highlight the most common pathogens found in contaminated wounds and highlight their virulence and potential for life-threatening systemic illness from wound infections. We also discuss appropriate antibiotic selection for these pathogens and our practices for wound management.


Salt water infection Fresh water infection Contaminated wound Aeromonas Vibrio 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery and Perioperative CareThe University of Texas at Austin Dell Medical SchoolAustinUSA
  2. 2.Dell Seton Medical Center at the University of Texas AustinAustinUSA

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