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 spp./CDC
Acinetobacter spp./CDC

In an announcement from the Hong Kong Hospital Authority today, six patients (aged 33 to 90) of a male medical ward at Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) have been confirmed to have Multi-drug Resistant Acinetobacter (MDRA) since February 4.

One of them is infected case in serious condition. The remaining five patients are confirmed to be MDRA carriers without clinical symptoms, one of them is in critical condition due to underlying disease, two are still hospitalised under medical surveillance and isolation in stable condition. The remaining two had passed away due to underlying disease.

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.