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Drug Resistant Bacteria Killing US Soldiers In Iraq

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Not only are we fighting the terrorists, but now our brave men and women are dealing with an invisible killer.

From Forbes comes a very good article. I’ll just post a quick excerpt, but I would suggest you read the whole thing too:

NEW YORK – Military doctors are fighting to contain an outbreak of a potentially deadly drug-resistant bacteria that apparently originated in the Iraqi soil. So far at least 280 people, mostly soldiers returning from the battlefield, have been infected, a number of whom contracted the illness while in U.S. military hospitals.

Most of the victims are relatively young troops who were injured by the land mines, mortars and suicide bombs that have permeated the Iraq conflict. No active-duty soldiers have died from the infections, but five extremely sick patients who were in the same hospitals as the injured soldiers have died after being infected with the bacteria, Acinetobacter baumannii.

After doing a little digging, Acinetobacter baumannii seems to be a pretty common bacteria in hospitals. In fact it’s known in some circles as the “hospital opportunist.” And as the article goes on to point out, it was also the second most common infection in found in our soldiers during Vietnam. However, this seems to be a new strain of it, and that spells trouble.

Here’s some more info from eMedicine about Acinetobacter baumannii and its effects:

Although Acinetobacter primarily is a colonizer in the hospital environment, occasionally it causes infection. Mortality and morbidity resulting from A baumannii infection relate to the underlying cardiopulmonary immune status of the host rather than the inherent virulence of the organism.

Patients who are very ill with multisystem disease have increased mortality and morbidity rates resulting from their underlying illness rather than the superimposed infection with Acinetobacter.

Say a prayer or send good thoughts. Our soldiers need it now more than ever.