Military superbug, quiet civilian epidemic
What this article fails to point out is that Acinetobacter baumannii infections were extremely rare in the US prior to the invasion of Iraq. The Iraq Infections website mapped the spread of this Superbug from the military medical system to community hospitals across our country beginning in 2004. Acinetobacter baumannii spread from Landstuhl and the three main military hospital centers, to the VA hospitals, to the community hospitals.
Severely injured Civilian Contractors were repatriated via the military medical evacuation system then delivered to unsuspecting community hospitals in the US, the UK, Australia, Canada, and the many third world countries the TCN’s come from.
The quiet civilian epidemic was allowed to propagate due to the DoD and CDC‘s concerted effort to cover up this disaster that the Military had created themselves. The DoD promoted such notions as the insurgents were putting Acinetobacter on bombs and the Main Stream Media (here and here) parroted the propaganda. The CDC claimed they were not “authorized” to talk about it.
The military knew all along that Acinetobacter baumannii was a hospital acquired organism yet promoted the lie that it came from the soil in Iraq. The original strains of Ab infecting soldiers and contractors were matched to the European (Landstuhl) strains which were already fast becoming a problem there.
See some of the Casualties of Acinetobacter baumanii
(Notice even this reporter cannot escape the notion that the dust in Iraq was responsible)
A thick layer of dust covers the blazing hot combat fields of Afghanistan and Iraq, getting under soldiers’ helmets, chalking up their fatigues and covering exposed skin. When enemy fire hits, troops often sustain severe burns and open wounds with shredded surrounding skin. Medical aid is generally faster than in any other U.S. wars, thanks to technology and a transport chain designed for high speed. When medics come, there’s an efficient process of lifting wounded troops onto open transport vehicles, prodding them with devices to assess vitals, wrapping their wounds and giving them fluids and blood. But during all that activity, the dust, the many hands and bandages, open wounds and needle punctures give other enemies — microscopic superbugs — an opportunity to attack from the inside.
For troops wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the most prolific superbugs has been an almost exclusively hospital-bred strain of bacteria known as “Iraqibacter,” a mutated version of the common acinetobacter baumannii. While military hospitals have waged a somewhat successful internal battle against the bacteria, for civilian hospitals in the U.S. and around the world, these bugs are a formidable foe.
“The data we were seeing shocked us into action,” (is five years the normal reaction time?) said Colonel Dr. Duane Hospenthal, Infectious Diseases Consultant for the U.S. Army Surgeon General.
What Duane Hospenthal previously told the press:
Hospenthal added that he believes there is little cause for concern. “It’s a low-grade, low-virulence pathogen that can be recovered from soil and water. Without having it blasted into you or your being immunocompromised, it’s not going to hurt you. We still see Acinetobacter, but
now that it’s been recognized, people are less excited about it here. It’s hard for me to even understand if this is a big issue.”
In fall 2008, the military expanded its infection monitoring and control system, also known as GEIS (Global Emerging Infectious Surveillance), to include acinetobacter and other multidrug-resistant organisms. This overhaul followed a spate of high-profile stories in Wired magazine and on the PBS program “Nova” about the prevalence of acinetobacter at Walter Reed Medical Center.