BACKGROUND: Since wound infection rates in patients with delayed admission seemed to be significantly higher, a retrospective study of bacteriology in 320 burn patients, over a 5-year period was carried out in order to analyze the relation between delayed admission and wound infection rates in our Burn unit of Uludağ University, Faculty of Medicine.. METHODS: The patients were separated into moderate or major burn groups according to burn severity. Wound infection and contamination frequencies were analyzed according to time-delay between burn injury and hospitalization time. RESULTS: Delayed admission was found to be an important factor that causes an increase in wound infection and contamination frequency. This increase was significant especially among patients with moderate burn wounds. In patients with severe burns, wound infection and contamination frequencies were found to be higher for all admission time points. CONCLUSION: Systemic antibiotic prophylaxis should be discussed in patients with moderate burns whose admission-delay is more than 78 hours. Wound infection and contamination rates were high in patients with major burns independent of the admission time. Therefore, systemic antibiotic prophylaxis should also be discussed in this group of patients, although it results in elimination of the normal skin flora.