Health protection – guidance

Acinetobacter species

The diagnosis and surveillance of Acinetobacter spp. bacteraemia.

Acinetobacter species belong to a group of Gram-negative bacteria that are readily found throughout the environment including drinking and surface waters, soil, sewage and various types of foods. Healthy individuals are at low risk of infection by Acinetobacter species.

Acinetobacter infections acquired in the community are very rare and most strains found outside hospitals are sensitive to antibiotics.

A few species, particularly Acinetobacter baumannii, can cause serious infections in hospital patients who are already very unwell. These ‘hospital-adapted’ strains of Acinetobacter baumannii are sometimes resistant to many antibiotics and the infections that they cause can therefore be difficult to treat.

The most common Acinetobacter infections include:

  • pneumonia
  • bacteraemia (blood stream infection)
  • wound infections
  • urinary tract infections

Diagnosis

Antimicrobial resistance and healthcare associated infections (AMRHAI) reference unit

Management

Working party guidance on the control of multi-resistant Acinetobacter outbreaks

Epidemiology

Acinetobacter spp. bacteraemia: annual data from voluntary surveillance: 2013