Over 2.4 million surgeries are performed annually in Australia and up to 15% of these procedures are complicated by infections involving the wound ("surgical site infections" “SSIs"). These infections are the leading cause of healthcare-associated infections and are the costliest; with healthcare budget estimates of $20,000 per SSI. SSIs represent a significant burden to patients, frequently necessitating prolonged hospitalisations, repeat operations and broad-spectrum antimicrobial therapy. These infections are also an important driver for the emergence of drug-resistant infections, which The World Health Organization has described as one of the most critical public health issues of our time.
The ultimate goals of this research program are to improve understanding about how surgical site infections develop, how to best prevent these infections and how to ensure responsible, evidence-based use of antimicrobials.