Military bacteria mystery may be solved

October 1, 2007

A rare drug-resistant bacterium has spread throughout U.S. military hospitals around the world, killing at least 27 since the start of the Iraq war.

Acinetobacter Baumann has popped up in facilities like Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington and the Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany -- infecting an unknown number of soldiers' and civilians' bloodstreams, cerebrospinal fluid, bones and lungs -- The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday.

Since 2001, the percentage of admissions caused by the antibiotic-resistant virus has increased from 2 percent to 12 percent, the newspaper said.

Like many other types of bacteria, Acinetobacter Baumann was once easily controlled by antibiotics, but has become increasingly resistant over the last few decades as use of the drugs has become widespread.

After a 2003 outbreak aboard the U.S. hospital ship Comfort in the Persian Gulf, researchers struggled to find the source of the outbreak, the Times reported. In May, a group of researchers narrowed the source of the infection down to field hospitals in Iraq and Kuwait, though some doctors and scientists still have doubts.

The number of cases has begun to subside and doctors have identified the most effective drugs, but now they wonder if it is the bacterium that is sickening soldiers -- or if it is just a marker of vulnerability in the sickest patients.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Prompt actions halt alarming infection outbreak at Dallas hospital

Related Stories

Shared equipment can lead to hepatitis B outbreaks

April 9, 2009

Patient-to-patient transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV) can occur as the result of routine clinical practices incorrectly thought to be risk-free. A review of 33 HBV outbreaks, published in the open access journal BMC ...

Mutated scarlet fever fuels Hong Kong outbreak

June 27, 2011

(AP) -- Ultramodern Hong Kong is tussling with a centuries-old bug long forgotten in many developed countries - an outbreak of drug-resistant scarlet fever that has killed the first children there in a decade. And with it ...

FDA should adopt risk-based approach to food safety: report

June 8, 2010

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's abilities to discover potential threats to food safety and prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness are hampered by impediments to efficient use of its limited resources and a piecemeal ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

( -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.