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This review of Acinetobacter outbreaks summarizes factors related to the presence and recognition of organism transmission and describes the implementation of control and prevention measures directed at limiting spread. Exogenous transmission of Acinetobacter should be considered when infections are endemic and when case rates increase. Increasing or new antimicrobial resistances in a collection of isolates also suggest transmission, and transmission can be definitively confirmed when isolates are found to be indistinguishable from or related to one another by a discriminatory genotyping test. An investigation for a common source should be conducted. When a common source cannot be found and eliminated, or once an endemically transmitted organism is established, containment or prevention efforts may require aggressive interventions, complex interventions, or both. Colonization at multiple sites, the relative ease of induction of antibiotic resistance in the organism following patient exposure to multiple drugs, and long-term environmental survival provide enhanced opportunities for the transmission of Acinetobacter between and among patients. New approaches and interventional trials are needed to define effective measures for the prevention and control of Acinetobacter infections.
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