A common bacterium is becoming more virulent and drug resistant in hospitals. The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) now ranks Acinetobacter baumannii on its list of "bad bugs" alongside two perennial chart toppers, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
The reported cases of nasty A. baumannii infections "may be just the tip of the iceberg," says Robert Bonomo of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. "I don't think the statistics ... do justice to the current problem. I hear people saying, 'It's all over my hospital.'"