Epidemiology

Clostridium species are ubiquitous organisms found throughout our environment. It is estimated that a full 30 percent of traumatic injuries are contaminated with one or more of the Clostridium species. There is approximately 1000 cases of gas gangrene reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) each year in the United States.1 The incidence of disease secondary to these organisms is decreasing, presumably due to better wound management and more effective antibiotic therapy. For example, the incidence of gas gangrene in battle-related injuries was 5 percent during World War I; this dropped to 0.2 percent during the Korean war and to 0.01 percent during the war in Vietnam.

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