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Acinetobacter – Symptoms,causes & risk factors

The Acinetobacter is a group of bacteria which are commonly found in the soil and water. There are many types or species of Acinetobacter and they can cause human disease. The Acinetobacter baumannii is the type of Acinetobacter which is most common and it has been shown that 80% of reported infections are caused by this type of Acinetobacter.

The outbreaks of Acinetobacter infections generally happen in intensive care units and the healthcare housing very ill patients. The Acinetobacter has very little risk for healthy people. Those people who have diabetes, chronic lung disease or weakened immune system can have increased chances of getting infections with Acinetobacter. Also, hospitalized people, especially very ill patients on a ventilator, those who have open wounds, those with a prolonged hospital stay, or any with invasive devices like urinary catheters are having increased risk for this infection.



The Acinetobacter is an opportunistic bacterium which is causing many different diseases with different symptoms. Below are given types of possible this baumannii infections:

  • UTI (urinary tract infections)
  • Wound and surgical site infections, including the “flesh – eating” bacterium necrotizing fasciitis
  • Meningitis (an infection or inflammation of the meninges, the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord)
  • Bloodstream infections (bacteremia and sepsis)
  • Pneumonia

The symptoms of the Acinetobacter baumannii infections are often clinically indistinguishable from those symptoms caused by opportunistic bacteria, such as Streptrococcus pneumoniae and Klebsiella pneumoniae. The bloodstream infections are often initially causing symptoms like rash, chills and fever and confusion or other altered mental states and they are often associated with an elevated lactic acid levels which are found with severe sepsis.

The urinary tract infections usually cause many different urinary symptoms, such as burning or pain sensations while urinating, strong urge to urinate frequently and foul – smelling urine which may be cloud or bloody.

The meningitis can cause many different flu – like symptoms, such as nausea (with or without vomiting), sensitivity to bright light, confusion, headache and fever. Pneumonia can cause many different symptoms, such as fever; chills; cough, sometimes with yellow, green or bloody mucus; muscle pain and chest pain; breathing problems. There are some cases when the Acinetobacter baumannii can colonize a site, such as an open wound or a tracheostomy site, without causing any infections or symptoms.


The Acinetobacter baumannii infection is caused by the Acinetobacter baumanii bacteria which are causing serious infections in the brain, blood and lungs. Also, it can cause wound infections and urinary tract infections. The Acinetobacter can be spread through direct contact and it can be found in soil, water or in the food. Also, it can be found in the hospitals. You should know that the Acinetobacter is highly contagious so you should be careful and try to avoid people who are infected with it.

Risk factors

Every single person can get this baumannii infection. If you have a COPD or diabetes, then you have increased chances of getting this baumannii. Also, there are other factors which can increase your risk of this baumannii infection, such as

  • You have a catheter and this can include central venous catheter or a Foley
  • You have a weak immune system. We know that the immune system helps to stay protected from getting sick. The immune system can be weak because you are ill or you have had recent surgery.
  • You have taken antibiotic medicine recently.
  • You have had a recent surgery or procedure. Also, you have increased chances of getting this baumannii infection if you have open wounds caused by injury or an accident.
  • You use poor hygiene. This is including not washing your hands long enough or not washing them well.
  • You have been near someone who has this baumannii infection.
  • You have been in the ICU (intensive care unit) or you have been on a ventilator (breathing machine).


Ramesh Kumar
Ramesh Kumar
Dr. Ramesh kumar, BAMS is naturopathy doctor who is well versed with health benefits of all fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants


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