Acinetobacter baumannii: Researchers find evidence pointing to an unexpected source of such bacteria- the hospitalized patients themselves

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by NewsDesk Lord, save her

Hospitals have strict hygiene and sanitation protocols in place to protect patients from bacteria that rarely make healthy people sick but can be fatal to vulnerable patients who are already hospitalized with critical illnesses. Approximately 100,000 people die each year in US hospitals from infections they contract after admission. But despite extensive efforts to control the infection, new strains of bacteria have continued to emerge, seemingly out of nowhere, infecting people in hospitals around the world.

Acinetobacter spp./CDC

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found evidence that points to an unexpected source for these bacteria: hospital patients themselves. Researchers studying mice discovered that urinary tract infections can arise after sterile tubes, called catheters, are inserted into the urinary tract, even when no bacteria were previously detected in the bladder. These tubes are commonly used in hospitals to empty the bladders of people undergoing surgery. In mice, insertion of tubes resulted in dormant activation Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) The researchers said that the bacteria hidden in the cells of the bladder, causing them to appear, multiply and cause urinary tract infections.

The results, published January 11 in Translational Medicine Sciencessuggests that screening patients for hidden reservoirs of dangerous bacteria could complement infection control efforts and help prevent potentially fatal infections.

You can sterilize the entire hospital, and you’ll still have new strains of bacteria A. baumannii said senior co-author Mario Feldman, PhD, professor of molecular microbiology. “Cleaning is not enough, and no one really knows why. This study shows that patients may be unwittingly bringing bacteria themselves into the hospital, and this has implications for infection control. If someone has a planned surgery and an angioplasty is going to be done, we can try “Determining whether a patient is carrying the bacteria and curing that person of it before surgery. Ideally, that would reduce the chances of developing one of these life-threatening infections.”

A. baumannii It is a major threat to people in the hospital, causing numerous urinary tract infections in people with urinary catheters, pneumonia in people on ventilators, and bloodstream infections in people who have central line catheters in their veins. Bacteria are notoriously resistant to a wide range of antibiotics, so infections like this are difficult to treat and can easily turn deadly.

Feldman collaborated with co-senior author Scott J. Hultgren, PhD, Helen L. A. baumannii Urinary tract infections develop after people receive catheters.

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Most UTIs in healthy people are caused by bacteria Escherichia coli (E. coli). Research has shown that coli It can hide in the cells of the bladder for months after the UTI appears to have cleared, and then reappear to cause another infection.

Feldman and Hultgren—along with co-authors Jenny E. Hazen, a graduate student, and Gisela Di Venanzio, Ph.D., instructor in molecular microbiology—investigated whether A. baumannii It can hide inside cells like coli can. They studied mice with a urinary tract infection they cause A. baumannii. They used mice with weakened immune systems because healthy mice, like humans, can fight back A. baumannii.

Once the infection had resolved and no bacteria had been detected in the mice’s urine for two months, the researchers inserted catheters into the mice’s urinary tracts with aseptic technique. Within 24 hours, about half of the mice developed urinary tract infections caused by the same strain A. baumannii as the primary infection.

“The bacteria have to be present all along, hiding within the cells of the bladder until the catheter is inserted,” Hultgren said. “The catheter causes inflammation, and the inflammation causes the reservoir to activate and the infection to multiply.”

where A. baumannii It rarely causes symptoms in healthy people, so many people who carry the bacteria may never know they are infected. As part of this study, researchers searched the scientific literature and discovered that about 2% of healthy people are carriers A. baumannii in their urine.

“I wouldn’t put too much weight on the exact percentage, but I think we can say with certainty that some percentage of the population walks around with A. baumanniiFeldman said. “As long as they’re healthy it won’t cause any problems, but once they’re in hospital, it’s different. This changes the way we think about infection control. We can start thinking about how we can check if patients have already done so.” Acinetobacter before they receive certain types of treatment; How do we get rid of it. And if other bacteria cause outbreaks of deadly diseases in hospitals such as Klebsiella, hide in the body in the same way. That’s what we’re working to find out now.”

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