Hamilton, OH ? March 2, 2010 -As reported in the Saturday, February 27, 2010, edition of The New York Times,* a little-known category of 'gram-negative' bacteria and germs called Acinetobacter baumannii are killing 'tens of thousands of hospital patients each year.'
Compared to MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), which receives considerable media and medical attention and for which there are some antibiotics available to fight the disease, there are no antibiotics to battle this new strain of bacteria, which infectious disease experts say makes it an even greater threat.
Acinetobacter baumannii are typically hospital-acquired bacteria that enter the body through open wounds, catheters, and breathing tubes. They usually infect those with compromised immune systems, such as the wounded, the elderly, young children, or people with immune diseases.
Unlike gram-positive bacteria that have a single-cell membrane, gram-negative bacteria have a double-cell membrane. This helps shield the bacteria from antibiotic treatment, making them difficult, and in many cases impossible, to eradicate. Making the situation worse, because this form of bacteria is so hard to treat, drug manufacturers have shown little interest in developing antibiotics for it.
In fact, the Infectious Diseases Society of America reports that at this time there are no middle- or late-stage clinical trials directed specifically at gram-negative organisms or Acinetobacter baumannii.
The Times article concludes that for the time-being, the most effective treatment for this and similar gram-negative bacteria diseases is prevention.
According to Matt Morrison, Communications Manager for Kaivac, Inc., developers of the No-Touch Cleaning® and the flat-surface cleaning systems, for prevention, 'proper hand washing is at the top of the list, but right behind it is the need to keep surfaces hygienically clean.'
Morrison adds that hospital administrators should also consider adding ATP rapid monitoring systems** to their cleaning arsenal. 'This way they [can] test surfaces quickly to make sure they are hygienically clean and stay that way.'
*'Rising Threat of Infections Unfazed by Antibiotics,' by Andrew Pollack, The New York Times, February 27, 2010.
**ATP (adenosine triphosphate) bioluminescence rapid monitoring systems quickly determine the hygienic status of surfaces.