Acinetobacter: an underrated foodborne pathogen?
The increasing prevalence of foodborne diseases observed in developing countries has been linked to a rise in the consumption of raw foods. However, unlike the classical pathogens that are commonly implicated in foodborne illnesses, members of the genus Acinetobacter are rarely associated with diarrheal disease, probably because of the difficulty in isolating these Gram-negative bacteria from food sources. Nevertheless, several species of Acinetobacter, especially A. baumannii, possess many of the characteristics associated with successful pathogens and exhibit a prodigious ability to acquire the multiple-drug resistance (MDR) phenotype. In this mini-review, we summarize the epidemiological data relating to MDR Acinetobacter and consider evidence suggesting that contaminated dairy products, along with raw fruit and vegetables, constitute extra-hospital reservoirs of this underrated pathogen, and may represent an increased risk to immunocompromised individuals and young children in healthcare settings.
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