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Home Topics Infectious Diseases Infections A-Z Acinetobacter species

Acinetobacter species

Scanning Electron Micrograph of Acinetobacter spp

Acinetobacter is a Gram-negative bacterium that is readily found throughout the environment including drinking and surface waters, soil, sewage and various types of foods.  Acinetobacter is also commonly found as a harmless coloniser on the skin of healthy people and usually poses very few risks.

Acinetobacter infections acquired in the community are very rare and most strains found outside hospitals are sensitive to antibiotics.  While Acinetobacter poses few risks to healthy individuals, a few species, particularly Acinetobacter baumannii, can cause serious infections - mainly in very ill hospital patients.  The most common Acinetobacter infections include pneumonia, bacteraemia (blood stream infection), wound infections, and urinary tract infections.  'Hospital-adapted' strains of Acinetobacter are sometimes resistant to antibiotics and are increasingly difficult to treat.