General information about Acinetobacter
- Acinetobacter [asz−in−ée−toe–back−ter] is a group of bacteria commonly found in soil and water.
- While there are many types or “species” of Acinetobacter and all can cause human disease, Acinetobacter baumannii [asz−in−ée−toe–back−ter boe-maa-nee-ie] accounts for about 80% of reported infections.
- Outbreaks of Acinetobacter infections typically occur in intensive care units and healthcare settings housing very ill patients. Acinetobacter infections rarely occur outside of healthcare settings.
Symptoms of Acinetobacter infection
- Acinetobacter causes a variety of diseases, ranging from pneumonia to serious blood or wound infections, and the symptoms vary depending on the disease.
- Acinetobacter may also “colonize” or live in a patient without causing infection or symptoms, especially in tracheostomy sites or open wounds.
For more images of this bacterium, search the Public Health Image Library
Transmission of Acinetobacter infection
- Acinetobacter poses very little risk to healthy people.
- Acinetobacter can be spread to susceptible persons by person-to-person contact or contact with contaminated surfaces.
Immune system compromise
- People who have weakened immune systems, chronic lung disease, or diabetes may be more susceptible to infections with Acinetobacter.
- Hospitalized patients, especially very ill patients on a ventilator, those with a prolonged hospital stay, those who have open wounds, or any person with invasive devices like urinary catheters are also at greater risk for Acinetobacter infection.
Prevention of Acinetobacter infection
- Acinetobacter can live on the skin and may survive in the environment for several days.
- Careful attention to infection control procedures, such as hand hygiene and environmental cleaning, can reduce the risk of transmission.
Treatment of Acinetobacter infection
- Acinetobacter is often resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics.
- Acinetobacter infection typically occurs in ill patients and can either cause or contribute to death in these patients.
- Acinetobacter infections are generally treated with antibiotics.
Culture and sensitivity
- Culture and sensitivity is done to determine which are active against the germ.
- The provider will then select an antibiotic based on the activity of the antibiotic and other factors, like potential side effects or interactions with other drugs.
Unfortunately, many Acinetobacter germs are resistant to many antibiotics, including carbapenems, which makes them difficult to treat with available antibiotics. A-Z index of infectious diseases | Glossary of infection control | Glossary of vaccines