Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Study: Acinetobacter infection in wounded coming from hospitals, not battlefield

On August 21, 2004 Jonathan Gadsen was severely wounded by an I.E.D. After undergoing arduous medical care he began to show improvement and was transferred to a veterans hospital. On October 17, the marine was given a day pass to accompany his mother to Wal-Mart. Hours after returning to the hospital, his condition deteriorated rapidly. Gadsden had a seizure and a heart attack the next day. The neurology team discovered that his cerebrum and cerebellum had swelled up overnight, and he was clinically brain-dead. His family and minister were called to the hospital, and on October 22 he was taken off life support, another victim of an acinetobacter infection in Iraq.

An outbreak of drug-resistant wound infections among soldiers in Iraq likely came from the hospitals where they were treated, not the battlefield, according to a new study in the June 15 issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases, currently available online.

The outbreak of drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii-calcoaceticus complex (ABC) infections among U.S. service members injured in Iraq has been of major concern to military health care workers since it was first detected in 2003. ABC bacteria are commonly found in soil and water. They sometimes also exist on the skin of healthy people. The bacteria pose little risk to healthy people. However, those with open wounds or weakened immune systems are at greater risk of ABC infection. An ABC infection can cause or contribute to death, especially if the patient is immunosuppressed.

Historically, ABC infections were treated with a wide variety of drugs. Unfortunately, in recent years, strains of Acinetobacter have been emerging that are resistant to nearly all known remedies. The ABC infections found among the U.S. service members are of this type, known as multi-drug resistant (MDR).

Read the rest at Biology News

Related Link:
Perspective: Resilient Infections Worry Military Doctors

Related Link:
Perspective: The 'Iraq Infection' -- fatal superbug travelling back home with the wounded