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You've heard of MRSA, but what about Acinetobacter?

December 24, 2009 | 12:26 pm

In the antibiotic-resistance world, MRSA gets most of the press. Sometimes, C. difficile works its way into a headline or two. But here's a reminder that other bacteria are growing stronger as well.

A study published online Wednesday in the journal Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology found that Acinetobacter is building up resistance to the antibiotic imipenem, often used as a last resort to combat blood infections and pneumonia in hospitalized patients. The bacterium is usually only a problem in intensive-care units -- but has also infected troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

The research was supported by Extending the Cure, which is trying to call attention to antibiotic resistance or, more specifically, "extend antibiotic effectiveness."

Here's the research brief. And more on Acinetobacter from the CDC. Plus two earlier Los Angeles Times stories on the bacterium:

A mysterious adversary preys on the war's wounded: "A strange, drug-resistant bacterium was infecting troops. Few had heard of it, and no one was sure of its origin."

Deadly bacteria defy drugs, alarming doctors: "A new category of bugs becomes more resistant to treatment, and their toll -- which already includes a Brazilian beauty queen -- is expected to rise."

But why stop there? Here's a list of other infectious diseases that you can pick up in the hospital.

Think of it as an incentive for staying well. And using antibiotics wisely.

-- Tami Dennis

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