An outbreak of the bacterium, Acinetobacter baumannii, has hit the Hospital Clínico Universitario Virgen de la Arrixaca in Spain, infecting a dozen of patients, according to a La Verdad report (computer translated).
The Ministry of Health says 28 patients have been affected by the outbreak strain of Acinetobacter since June, 12 getting infections (pneumonia, bacteremia or infection in surgical wounds) and the remainder are “colonized” and not presenting with infection.
The report notes that some of the patients affected by the bacteria have died during these recent months; however, health officials say the deaths cannot be attributed to the Acinetobacter. These were critically ill patients and doctors determined the cause of death was due to their underlying health conditions and not the bacterium.
“It is impossible to establish a direct link between the death of a patient of ICU and the presence of ‘Acinetobacter'”, said Professor Manuel Segovia, chief of microbiology at Arrixaca.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Acinetobacter is a group of bacteria commonly found in soil and water.
Acinetobacter baumannii 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 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.
Acinetobacter poses very little risk to healthy people. However, 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.
Acinetobacter is often resistant to many commonly prescribed antibiotics.
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