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The Escalating Threat of Acinetobacter baumannii in Hospital Infections: A Comprehensive Study in Ethiopia

Acinetobacter baumannii presents a growing challenge in healthcare institutions, particularly when considering nosocomial infections. As an opportunistic pathogen, it can cause a variety of hospital infections, raising serious concerns among experts in infection prevention. This article offers an in-depth review of a study that aimed at molecularly characterizing this threat, particularly in the context of surgical site infections (SSI).

The study was conducted across four Ethiopian hospitals and employed standard microbiological tests, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS), and antibiotic susceptibility evaluations using disk diffusion. Among the 752 SSI wounds evaluated, 8.7% carried Acinetobacter species. This included 88.4% A. baumannii and smaller percentages of A. pittii, A. soli, and A. lactucae. Nearly all of the isolates (93%) tested positive for extended-spectrum beta-lactamase (ESBL) enzymes. Genome sequencing revealed that 62.8% of the A. baumannii isolates carried beta-lactamase genes and 46.5% carried carbapenemase producing genes.

The frequency of Acinetobacter species producing harmful enzymes uncovered in this study is alarming. It underscores the urgency for rigorous infection prevention control procedures in healthcare facilities and superior antibiotic stewardship.

In broader context, A.baumannii and other species belong to the Moraxellaceae family. They are known to cause a number of clinical complications including pneumonia, septicaemia, urinary tract infection, and surgical wound infection, often resulting in high mortality.

Resistance to antibiotics, particularly third-generation cephalosporins has spread rapidly, due to both extensive misuse of antibiotics and weak stewardship. Hospitals globally face the threat of infections caused by A. baumannii, which has been ranked by the WHO as the number one priority for antibiotic research and development.

Understanding the genetic epidemiology of ESBL and carbapenemase-producing A. baumannii strains is crucial for effectively controlling antimicrobial resistance in the future. The data generated from this study will help guide future research and public health policy relating to antibiotic resistance and hospital infection control.

Source: https://bmcinfectdis.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12879-024-09362-5

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