Acinetobacter baumannii Overview

Acinetobacter baumannii Overview

Striking rise in multidrug resistance highlights urgent need for action

Background

Drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii is a Gram-negative bacterium found primarily in hospital settings, where it frequently dwells on IV and catheter lines of ICU patients. Because of Acinetobacter’s low virulence, few colonized patients develop a disease. However, when an infection does occur, it often results in hospital-wide outbreaks and relatively high rates of mortality. In the outpatient setting, the pathogen has been associated with wound infections among soldiers, earning it the name “Iraqibacter.”

The worrisome decline in Acinetobacter susceptibility to multiple therapies, including carbapenems, points to two major conclusions: one is the urgent need to develop new drugs active against Gram-negative bacteria; second is the medical community’s need to evaluate the benefits of large-scale vaccination of populations most affected by A. baumannii, such as military personnel and those in contact with them.