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: Is Australia prepared for Ebola?

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

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 ...

Calcium makes for an environmentally friendly pickle

Jul 08, 2014

George Washington had a collection of 476 kinds of pickles. To prevent scurvy, Christopher Columbus stocked pickles on the NiƱa, Pinta, and Santa Maria. Julius Caesar, believing pickles to be invigorating, ...

Recommended for you

Is Australia prepared for Ebola?

2 hours ago

Australia needs to be proactive about potential disease outbreaks like Ebola and establish a national centre for disease control.

Dallas hospital confirms first Ebola case in US

8 hours ago

A patient at a Dallas hospital has tested positive for Ebola, the first case of the disease to be diagnosed in the United States, federal health officials announced Tuesday.

First case of Ebola diagnosed in US

9 hours ago

The United States has diagnosed its first case of the deadly Ebola virus in a man who became infected in Liberia and traveled to Texas, US health officials said Tuesday.

Study finds acupuncture does not improve chronic knee pain

10 hours ago

Among patients older than 50 years with moderate to severe chronic knee pain, neither laser nor needle acupuncture provided greater benefit on pain or function compared to sham laser acupuncture, according to a study in the ...

User comments : 0