Military bacteria mystery may be solved

Oct 01, 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: Project to track rising threat of Lyme disease

Related Stories

Roundworm parasite targets canine eyes

Apr 16, 2015

(HealthDay)—A small number of dogs and cats across the United States have been infected by a roundworm parasite that targets the eye, according to a new report.

The difficult question of Clostridium difficile

Aug 19, 2014

The bacterium Clostridium difficile causes antibiotic-related diarrhoea and is a growing problem in the hospital environment and elsewhere in the community. Understanding how the microbe colonises the hu ...

Recommended for you

An explanation of wild birds' role in avian flu outbreak

1 hour ago

Wild birds are believed to be behind the first major widespread outbreak of bird flu in the United States, with the virus confirmed in the animals in 10 states. Here are some questions and answers about how wild birds remain ...

Gastroenterology Special Issue confirms: You are what you eat

4 hours ago

Patients are always interested in understanding what they should eat and how it will impact their health. Physicians are just as interested in advancing their understanding of the major health effects of foods and food-related ...

Gonorrhoea and syphilis in Norway in 2014

6 hours ago

Reported cases of gonorrhea continue to increase in Norway, both among men who have sex with men (MSM) and among heterosexuals. The increase of gonorrhea among heterosexual women was particularly significant. ...

User comments : 0

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.