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Iraq war casualties often complicated

12:23pm, October 18, 2005

From San Francisco, at a meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America

Hundreds of injured soldiers returning from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan harbor an unusual bacterium that complicates their wound healing and may be spreading to other patients in hospitals where the soldiers are treated, a new study shows. Moreover, the microbe seems to be lingering in soldiers, cropping up during rehabilitation care received months after they have returned to the United States.

Paul M. Scott, a physician at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, Md., and his colleagues isolated the bacterium, called Acinetobacter baumannii, from 148 wounded soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan between November 2002 and September 2003. Since then, more than 100 additional wounded combatants have been diagnosed with A. baumannii.

Many of the A. baumannii strains found in these soldiers don't match those occurring

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