What is it?

Acinetobacter baumannii (commonly referred to as A. baumannii) is a type of infectious bacteria that are Gram-negative and commonly found in medical settings. Gram-negative bacteria are resistant to most antibiotics and multiple other drugs, so these infections can be difficult and expensive to treat. 

Diagnoses are high among soldiers who were injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the bacterium has spread to some US hospitals after these soldiers were transferred to their facilities.

Is it dangerous?

Yes. Since Acinetobacter baumannii is multi-drug resistant (MDR), most antibiotics will not be useful to treat it. This leads to long recovery times and sometimes life-threatening illness.

Do SONO Disinfecting Wipes kill it?

Yes. SONO Disinfecting wipes are EPA certified to kill Acinetobacter baumannii based on a minimum of 4 minutes of contact. The proper way to disinfect a surface is to get it wet and keep it moist using the SONO towelettes for at least 4 minutes. 

What are the symptoms of this type of infection?

It is possible for it to live in a patient without any symptoms. This is most common in open wounds and mucus.

It often isn’t diagnosed until a patient visits a hospital for another problem, such as pneumonia, a skin infection, meningitis, a blood infection or a urinary tract infection.

How will I know if I have it?

The symptoms usually start where the infection has entered the body. The most common symptoms start with a fever and red, swollen, painful areas on your skin, especially around wounds. 

If the infection was transmitted with a catheter, you may experience a burning sensation when you urinate.

Other signs include trouble breathing, a cough and chest pain, which is a sign it entered through the respiratory system.

Sleepiness, stiff neck and headache are common signs as well.

How is it usually spread?

Acinetobacter baumannii is not usually found outdoors. The most likely way to contract it is in a hospital setting by touching contaminated surfaces or being exposed to a cough from an infected person.

Who is most likely to get it?

It’s not common to be exposed to Acinetobacter baumannii, but people with weakened immune systems, diabetes and lung disease should be mindful of exposure.

Within hospitals, anyone admitted to an intensive care unit for an open wound or who has a long stay is more likely to contract it than other types of hospital visits. Patients who use a catheter or ventilator in a hospital also have an increased chance of infection.

How can I avoid it?

If you’re staying in a hospital, always allow staff to disinfect the room daily. If you are worried about this and other types of drug-resistant infections, it is also appropriate to ask healthcare providers to always wash their hands before touching you.

Frequently and thoroughly washing your hands while visiting and staying in medical facilities is also one of the best ways to avoid Acinetobacter baumannii. All visitors for patients should do this, too.

What should I do if I suspect I’ve been exposed to it?

See your healthcare provider immediately. Wash your hands frequently. You should also wear a surgical mask if you have a cough. If you have a wound, make certain it is securely wrapped to prevent leakage and thoroughly disinfect anything you have touched.

How is it treated?

A group of antibiotics called Carbapenems are most commonly used to treat Acinetobacter baumannii, but they are increasingly becoming ineffective.

Do I have to be isolated if I have it?

The CDC recommends that anyone with a drug-resistant infection be isolated. This is done to prevent the spread of dangerous bacteria to other patients.