Acinetobacter Clinical Presentation

Updated: Mar 02, 2021
  • Author: Shirin A Mazumder, MD, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
  • Print


Prolonged hospitalization or antibiotic therapy predisposes to Acinetobacter colonization.

Patients with Acinetobacter pneumonias occurring in the context of an outbreak in the intensive care unit (ICU) generally have a history of preceding contact with respiratory support monitors or equipment.

Patients with Acinetobacter colonization often have a history of prolonged hospitalization or antimicrobial therapy (with antibiotics that have little or no activity against Acinetobacter).



Because colonization is the rule and infection is the exception, colonized patients have no associated physical findings.

Patients with Acinetobacter infection have signs and symptoms related to the organ system involved, ie, wound infection, episodic outbreaks of nosocomial pneumonia, CAPD-associated peritonitis, nosocomial meningitis, or catheter-associated bacteruria.

The following is summarized from an article by Go and Cunha (1999): [5]

  • Acinetobacter commonly colonizes skin, oropharynx secretions, respiratory secretions, and urine.

  • Acinetobacter uncommonly colonizes the gastrointestinal tract and is associated with nosocomial pneumonias (which usually occur as outbreaks), bacteremias, and wound infections.

  • Acinetobacter infection is rarely associated with meningitis, endocarditis (native valve infective endocarditis and prosthetic valve endocarditis), peritonitis, urinary tract infections, community-acquired pneumonia, and cholangitis.



Antimicrobial therapy using agents with little or no activity against Acinetobacter predisposes to Acinetobacter colonization.

Residency in an ICU, particularly in the presence of other patients who are colonized with Acinetobacter, predisposes to colonization.