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Definition of Acinetobacter

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Acinetobacter: (Pronounced AH-sin-neto-bacter). A group of bacteria found in soil, water, and hospitals where they can cause serious infections in immunocompromised people and are often resistant to antibiotics.

Acinetobacter can be isolated from many sources including drinking and surface water, soil, sewage and different types of foods. At least a quarter of healthy people carry Acinetobacter harmlessly on their skin. But in hospitals some strains, particularly Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii), can cause infections including pneumonia and bacteremia (bloodstream infection).

In technical terms, the Acinetobacter genus belongs to the gamma subdivision of Proteobacteria, and to the Moraxellaceae family.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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