Microbiological aspects of leg ulcers
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The leg ulcers of a self-selecting group of patients were examined for their bacterial loading and for identification of isolates. The nature and position of the ulcers did not allow the use of more common sampling methods, and a modification of a previous method of skin sampling was tried, tested and finally used - with reasonable success. Quantitative and qualitative bacteriological studies of samples from the ulcers were made using approved, standard laboratory methods. Brief surveys of the patients' immunological status and life-style (e.g. keeping of pets) were conducted and the possible consequences considered. The results of the study indicate that leg ulcers are contaminated, often at very high levels, with those species normally associated with the skin, and occasionally with species more often associated with other habitats. There is no evidence to suggest a single culture system dominated by a single species, and this, plus special physiological and environmental factors, probably combines to maintain the ecological status, without the appearance or development of any state of sepsis. The results obtained for bacterial loading and types appear to be independent of the individual's immune status and / or contact with domestic pets.
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