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Bacteria infections rise in U.S. soldiers

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WASHINGTON, Nov 19, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. military officials said an increasing number of bacterial infections in the bloodstream are being seen in soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The infections are due to the bacteria Acinetobacter baumannii. This usually is not seen in healthcare settings but these cases are a concern because the bacteria have developed resistance to antimicrobial drugs, a team of military officials, led by Dr. P.T. Scott of Army Medical Surveillance Activity in Washington, reported in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The infections occurred between 2002 and 2004. About 83 percent of the cases were reported in soldiers injured in activities that were part of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

The majority of the infected soldiers were being treated at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington.

The military researchers said the finding underscores the need for new drugs that can treat these infections.

They concluded identifying infected patients and implementing infection-containment measures, such as hand washing and isolation of patients, could help prevent the bacteria from being transmitted to other patients in these hospitals.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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