It runs rampant in military hospitals, not virulent enough to infect the healthy, but highly resistant to many antibiotics and capable of lying dormant for years. Dozens infected by it have died, but it may not be the actual killer. The strange bacterium Acinetobacter has scientists scratching their heads, the LA Times reports.
Little known until recently, Acinetobacter has infected hundreds of wounded soldiers in Iraq over the past few years, sending scientists on a hunt for answers. They now suspect military hospital conditions as the culprit: Infection-control measures such as hand-washing are more slack and patient trauma more severe in hectic field hospitals, creating a perfect storm for the bug.