Monday, January 22, 2007

Blowback in the form of bacteria

Acinetobacter baumannii. Straight from the ruins of Baghdad through Europe into the US via our soldiers.

In many ways, the Bush Administration's "War on Terror" has been able to accomplish things that the terrorists themselves could only dream of. It has divided the American public against each other. It has stretched our military so thin that we would be helpless in the face of a real national emergency. And now, it has bred its own drug-resistant biological weapons, one of which is rapidly making its way through civilian hospitals from California to Canada, on to Germany and Anbar Province. It's called acinetobacter baumannii and the US military not only created the conditions that led to its development, but the Pentagon has played an active role in exporting it to the world and in the suppression of information that could have led to its containment.
But this is part and parcel with the government's strategy for "fighting terror" with speeches and photo-ops and letting the underfunded, ill-equipped military cope with the unintended consequences of their disastrously mis-planned war(s). The whole reason we have this bug is because the combat hospitals in Iraq have never been adequately supplied, sterilized, or maintained...

BBC has two articles from 2004

HPA chief executive Professor Pat Troop said: "Cases of beta-lactamase resistant E.Coli and Acinetobacter baumannii are occurring in hospitals and the communities.

"Although they are not as widespread as MRSA, these infections are very difficult to treat, making it crucial that they are brought under control at an early stage."

and 2005.

Acinetobacter baumannii

Acinbetobacter is a type of bacterium that can be found in may sources in the environment, including drinking water, soil, sewage and food.

Infection from most strains is rare, but there are a few, including baumannii, which can cause infection in hospital patients who are already unwell.

Such infections can include bloodstream, wound and urinary tract infections, and can become difficult to treat if they become resistant to antibiotics.


In November, 2004, the CDC reported an increasing number of A. baumannii bloodstream infections in patients at military medical facilities in which service members injured in the Iraq/Kuwait region during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) were treated.[4] Most of these were multidrug-resistant. Among one set of isolates from Walter Reed Army Medical Center, 13 (35%) were susceptible to imipenem only, and two (4%) were resistant to all drugs tested. One antimicrobial agent, colistin (polymyxin E), has been used to treat infections with multidrug-resistant A. baumannii; however, antimicrobial susceptibility testing for colistin was not performed on isolates described in this report. Because A. baumannii can survive on dry surfaces for up to 20 days, they pose a high risk of spread and contamination in hospitals, potentially putting immune-compromised and other patients at risk for drug resistant infections that are often fatal and generally expensive to treat.

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