Acinetobacter is a type of bacteria that can be found in many sources in the environment, including water and soil. Some strains of Acinetobacter can cause infection.
What can Acinetobacter cause?
Sometimes Acinetobacter causes skin or wound infections. In patients who are ill, it can cause lung infection (pneumonia) or infection in the blood.
How is Acinetobacter treated?
Many strains of Acinetobacter are easily treated with common antibiotics. Some strains of Acinetobacter are resistant to common antibiotics. This is called multi-drug resistant or MDR-Acinetobacter. Infections with MDR-Acinetobacter are more difficult to treat
Not all patients with MDR-Acinetobacter need antibiotics. Sometimes the bacteria live on the skin or in wounds without causing an infection. These persons are said to be "colonized."
Are there any side effects to treatment of Acinetobacter?
Antibiotics used to treat these infections do have potential side effects including stomach upset, diarrhea, and rash among others. When stronger antibiotics need to be used, more serious side effects such as hearing loss and reduced kidney or liver function can occur.
How do I know if there is an infection?
Signs of bacterial infections include:
Redness around the wound
Thick, foul smelling pus from wounds
If you have any of these signs or symptoms, please contact your doctor for evaluation.
Who is at risk of infection?
The people most likely to be infected are those who are already ill and who have been admitted to the hospital. Patients who have compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV/AIDS, transplant patients, chemotherapy, etc., are at risk for this and other infections.
What will this mean for my hospital care?
All patients who have a positive culture for MDR-Acinetobacter may be placed on isolation precautions. Isolation precautions are used to prevent the spread of MDR-Acinetobacter among patients.
Hospital staff may wear gowns and gloves to care for you. A cart may be placed outside the room to hold supplies. A notice may be placed on the door to your room to notify all visitors of the precautions needed to enter the room.
If visitors have questions about what to do to enter your room, they should report to the nurse’s station. All of these steps are to keep germs from spreading.
What will happen when I go home?
At home, in most cases, you need only to use good hand hygiene. Ask the nursing staff for your discharge instructions. For general information on infection control for antibiotic resistant diseases visit the Antibiotic Resistant Diseases webpage.
*Acinetobacter does not usually pose a threat to healthy people, hospital staff or to family members or close contacts of an infected patient.