Acinetobacter Infection

Acinetobacter is a group of bacteria that live in soil, water, and on the skin of healthy people. These bacteria can cause illness in people who have other diseases or conditions.


Acinetobacter bacteria do not cause infection in healthy people. However, the bacteria may infect people who already have weak immune systems. People who are at risk of illness from Acinetobacter infection include people who have:

  • Diabetes.

  • Open wounds.

  • Lasting (chronic) lung disease.

  • Illnesses requiring long hospital stays (especially in an intensive care unit).

  • Dependence on a ventilator.

  • Cancer (and are receiving chemotherapy or radiation treatments).


  • Organ transplants.


Symptoms depend on where the infection develops. Possible types of infection and symptoms include:

  • Lung infection (pneumonia).

  • Fever.

  • Chills.

  • Cough.

  • Shortness of breath.

  • Wound infection.

  • Redness.

  • Hotness.

  • Increased pain.

  • Pus production.

  • Blood infection (sepsis).

  • Fever.

  • Chills.

  • Confusion.

  • Rash.

  • Joint pain.

  • Infection of the lining of the brain and spine (meningitis).

  • Headache.

  • Stiff neck.

  • Irritability.

  • Confusion.

  • Seizures.

  • Infected joints (septic arthritis).

  • Joint pain.

  • Stiffness.

  • Swelling.

  • Fever and chills.


Acinetobacter infection is diagnosed by taking a sample of pus, mucus (sputum), or blood. The sample is examined in a lab for the presence of the bacteria.


Some types of Acinetobacter infection are treated with medicines that kill germs (antibiotics). In some cases, surgery will be needed to remove infected tissue.


  • Wash your hands carefully and frequently.

  • Regularly clean and disinfect all surfaces in your home. Use appropriate disinfectants.

  • Wash your hands before and after visiting people in the hospital.

  • Keep wounds covered with clean (sterile) bandages.

  • Consider wearing sterile gloves when changing bandages.


  • You have an oral temperature above 102° F (38.9° C), not controlled by medicine.

  • You have a cough.

  • You are short of breath.

  • A wound develops new redness, hotness, or pus.

  • You have a severe headache or stiff neck.

  • One of your joints becomes red, swollen, stiff, or painful.