Drug-resistant "superbug" found in hospitals

December 28, 2009

Researchers say this drug-resistant bacteria is particularly concerning because there are fewer antibiotics available to treat it.

The bacteria, called Acinetobacter, is less common that other superbugs but physicians have fewer weapons to fight it.

It thrives on water so it can live in patients' lungs, blood and urine, potentially leading to pneumonia and other serious infections.

In a new study, researchers examined Acinetobacter samples taken from U.S. hospitals between 1999 and 2006. They found that the percentage showing antibiotic resistance increased 300% over time. By 2006, nearly 1 out of 5 samples was drug resistant.

Experts say that treating patients with antibiotics that have little activity against Acinetobacter makes them more likely to become infected. They recommend that hospitals make containing this dangerous microbe a high priority.

But total eradication will not be possible, so scientists are racing the clock to produce NEW antibiotics that are effective against Acinetobacter and other rising superbugs.

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