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Acinetobacter Skin Colonization of US Army Soldiers

  • Matthew E. Griffith (a1), Julia M. Ceremuga (a1), Michael W. Ellis (a1), Charles H. Guymon (a2), Duane R. Hospenthal (a1) and Clinton K. Murray (a1)...



To evaluate whether skin colonization with Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-baumannii complex exists in a population of healthy, nondeployed US Army soldiers and, if present, how it might relate to the infections seen in current war casualties.


We sampled various skin sites of soldiers to test for the presence of A. calcoaceticus-baumannii complex and to establish the prevalence of colonization. We then used ribotyping and antimicrobial susceptibility profiles to compare the isolates we recovered with A. calcoaceticus-baumannii complex isolates from injured soldiers.


Fort Sam Houston, Texas.


A population of healthy, nondeployed US Army soldiers in training.


A total of 17% of healthy soldiers were found to harbor A. calcoaceticus-baumannii complex. However, the strains differed from those recovered from injured soldiers.


Skin carriage of A. calcoaceticus-baumannii complex exists among soldiers before deployment. However, the difference in the strains isolated from healthy soldiers, compared with the strains from injured soldiers, makes it difficult to identify skin colonization as the source of infection.


Corresponding author

Infectious Disease Service (MCHE-MDI), Brooke Army Medical Center, 3851 Roger Brooke Drive, Fort Sam Houston, TX 78234 (


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2. Berlau, J, Auchen, H, Malnick, H, Pitt, T. Distributions of Acinetobacter species on skin of healthy humans. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 1999; 18:179183.
3. Chu, YW, Leung, CM, Houang, ETS, et al. Skin carriage of Acinetobacters in Hong Kong. J Clin Microbiol 1999; 37:29622967.
4. Kloos, WE, Musselwhite, MS. Distribution and persistence of Staphylococcus and Micrococcus species and other aerobic bacteria on human skin. Appl Microbiol 1975; 30:381395.
5. Seifert, H, Dijkshoorn, L, Gerner-Smidt, P, Pelzer, N, Tjernberg, I, Vanee-choutte, M. Distribution of Acinetobacter species on human skin: comparison of phenotypic and genotypic identification methods. J Clin Microbiol 1997; 35:28192825.


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