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Acinetobacter is an aerobic, gram-negative bacteria typically found in water sources in soil. Although it has a very low virulence, acinetobacter can flourish in organ systems which contain a high level of fluid, such as respiratory secretions, urine, and in rare cases synovial fluid post-operatively. Most isolates represent colonization rather than infection.[1]


Acinetobacter species are non-motile bacteria which appear as gram-negative coccobaccili in pairs on microscopic study. There are 25 different strains[2], though A. Baumanni is responsible for 80% of infections. All species are classified as non-lactose fermenting.

Clinical significance

Acinetobacter causes a variety of diseases, ranging from nosocomial (hospital-aquired) pneumonia to serious wound infections. Symptoms of a wound infection include redness and/or heat at the site, fever, chills, purulent or odd-colored drainage, and pain. Although not prevolent in the general population, Acinetobacter can cause severe, life-threatening illness in immunocompromised patients.[3]


  1. "Burke A Cunha, MD (2007) "Acinetobacter"
  2. Collaborative effort of the DHSD, AFIOH, DHCC, NEHC, GEIS and USACHPPM. Acinetobacter Infections -- Information for Servicemembers and Their Families
  3. Ulrike Gerisher (2008). Acinetobacter Molecular Biology