Acinetobacter baumannii is a hardy bacterium found commonly in the environment. Humans become accidental hosts when the body’s normal infection barriers are bypassed by breathing tubes, blood and urine catheters, and wounds. Serious infections can happen in the lungs, bloodstream, urinary tract, and wounds.
A. baumannii are an important healthcare-associated infection (HAI) because they can carry resistance to multiple antibiotic classes, necessitating expensive antibiotics with potentially serious side effects. A. baumannii infections can increase hospital stays, increase patient complications, and even contribute to death.
A. baumannii accounted for 1.8% of all HAIs reported to the National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) during 2009–2010, but 6.6% of ventilator-associated pneumoniae (VAP), and 2.2% of central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSI). The majority of infections were multidrug- or carbapenem-resistant: 63.4% and 61.2% of VAP, 67.6% and 62.6% of CLABSIs; these percentages were higher for catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI).
A. baumannii are transmitted by hands, surfaces, and fomites (e.g., medical equipment).
Spread of A. baumannii infection can be prevented by hand washing and effective healthcare environmental cleaning.