About Carbapenem-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii (CRAB)
- Acinetobacter baumannii (A. baumannii) is a type of bacteria commonly found in the environment, especially in soil and water.
- A. baumannii can cause human infections of the blood, urinary tract, lungs, wounds, and other body sites.
- People can be colonized with A. baumannii, which means the organism is found on the body but is not causing any symptoms of disease. Colonization can lead to infection.
- Antibiotic resistance in A. baumannii is a serious concern, as the bacteria can be resistant to multiple antibiotics, which makes infections with this multidrug-resistant bacteria very difficult to treat.
- Carbapenem-resistant A. baumannii, or CRAB, are highly antibiotic-resistant bacteria for which few treatment options exist.
- Carbapenems are a group of antibiotics often reserved for treating multidrug-resistant A. baumannii infections.
- Some CRAB are resistant to all available antibiotics.
- CRAB is one of just five pathogens listed as an "urgent" threat in CDC's 2019 Antibiotic Resistant Threats in the United States (PDF) report.
- Carbapenemase-producing CRAB (CP-CRAB) are a type of CRAB that produce an enzyme (carbapenemase) that can break down carbapenems and other antibiotics, rendering these bacteria highly antibiotic resistant.
- CP-CRAB can spread the genetic material that encodes for the carbapenemase to other bacteria, facilitating the spread of antibiotic resistance.
- There are several different types of carbapenemases found in CRAB. The MDH Public Health Laboratory tests CRAB isolates for the presence of carbapenemases. Visit CRAB Isolate Submission and Laboratory Testing for more information.
Transmission of CRAB
- Patients colonized or infected with CRAB can spread the bacteria to other patients via the contaminated hands of health care workers, through contaminated medical equipment, or a contaminated health care environment.
- Implementing infection prevention and control measures is critical to preventing CRAB transmission in health care facilities. Visit CRAB Information for Health Professionals for more information.
People Most at Risk
Healthy people usually do not acquire CRAB infections or colonization. Most CRAB infections are healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) occurring in people who have underlying medical conditions or certain types of healthcare exposures, such as:
- Immunocompromising conditions.
- Recent frequent or prolonged stays in health care settings.
- Invasive medical devices such as breathing tubes, feeding tubes, and central venous catheters.
- Open wounds from surgery.
- A history of taking certain antibiotics for long periods of time.
More about CRAB
- CDC: Acinetobacter in Healthcare Settings
Overview of clinical features, transmission, and prevention.