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experts comment on review on the bacterium A. baumannii, and its profile as a healthcare-associated infection, as published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases

The bacterium has been identified as an emerging cause of infection which is becoming increasingly prevalent in healthcare settings.


Dr Andrew Berrington, Consultant Microbiologist, Sunderland Royal Hospital, said:

“As this article makes clear, Acinetobacter is capable of developing resistance to multiple antibiotics and of causing outbreaks in healthcare settings. We mustn’t be complacent but currently its impact can be geographically constrained – some hospitals struggle to control outbreaks, others see very little of it. In this country there is little evidence that it is becoming more common and in fact as a percentage of all bacteraemias it’s actually going down.”


Prof Richard James, Director of Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections, Nottingham University, said:

“”If we could overnight solve the problems of hospital infections caused by C.difficile and MRSA then there are other potential superbugs like Acinetobacter baumannii lying in wait. Hospitals are full of sick patients and very fit bacteria that will spread from patient to patient unless infection control measures are up to the challenge.

“Acinetobacter baumannii, MDR-TB (multidrug resistant tuberculosis) and XDR-TB (extremely drug resistant tuberculosis) are examples of new threats to public health that are already causing serious problems in other countries.

“Acinetobacter baumannii shares properties with C.difficile, such as survival on surfaces and resistance to disinfectants, that make it very difficult to eliminate from the hospital environment once it is there.

“Data on the incidence of blood infections caused by Acinetobacter species can be found at the link below. With the proviso that this is blood infection data from a voluntary reporting system, there has not been a dramatic increase in these infections in recent years (in contrast to C.difficile for example).”

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