Medical Fun Facts Episode 72: Terrorist CRABs, no not that sort of crabs

It’s Monday 26 June 2017.

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  • Going back to the alphabet
  • Acinetobacter species
  • Strictly aerobic mostly nonmotile, nonfermentative, Gram-negative coccobacilli although Acinetobacter are longer rods when found in broth
  • Some Greek and French background to the naming but it means nonmotile bacteria
  • The genus has about 40 species
  • Found in soil and water
  • Survives in moist and dry conditions and can also survive some common disinfectants and the genus has a broad temperature range in which it can grow
  • Survive on skin or surfaces for weeks
  • A hospital environment is not hostile
  • Acinetobacter is a common cause of healthcare-associated infection
  • Especially in critical care areas like intensive care units
  • Clinically, patients often develop pneumonia, bacteræmia, urinary tract infection as well as surgical wound infections
  • This pneumonia can be ventilator-associated pneumonia related to the presence of an endotracheal tube or aspiration
  • Urinary tract infection is found when an indwelling catheter is used
  • In hospitals colonised by Acinetobacter, surgical and other wounds can become infected
  • Acinetobacter easily develop resistance, including to carbapenems, which are some of the most powerful β-lactam agents, hence CRABs or Carbapenem-Resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (the most commonly isolated species)
  • What’s the terrorist connection?
  • 12 October 2002
  • 202 humans died plus 2 suicide bombers with 209 injured
  • Because of the burns, victims were dousing themselves in any water they could find, much of it was contaminated with CRABs
  • I’d like you to actually watch the video because there are some things in it I feel comfortable writing as a 3D caption rather than saying or writing here, especially my attitude to terrorists.

And so, ends another episode of Medical Fun Facts. If you have suggestions or requests for future shows please let me know. You can find the show notes for every episode at my blog

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