Acinetobacter baumannii hospital infections are difficult to treat due to the rapid emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) strains. In addition, A. baumannii can survive in numerous adverse environments, including in the presence of common hospital antiseptics. We hypothesized that in addition to accumulating drug resistance determinants, MDR A. baumannii strains also accumulate mutations that allow for greater microbicide tolerance when compared to pan-susceptible (PS) strains. To test this hypothesis, we compared the survival of five MDR and five PS patient isolates when exposed to bleach, ethanol, quaternary ammonium compounds, chlorhexidine gluconate, and povidone. We evaluated bacteria in a free-living planktonic state and under biofilm conditions. Each disinfectant eliminated 99.9% of planktonic bacteria, but this was not the case for bacterial biofilms. Next, we characterized strains for the presence of the known microbicide-resistance genes cepA, qacE∆1, qacE, and qacA. MDR strains did not survive more than PS strains in the presence of microbicides, but microbicide-resistant strains had higher survival rates under some conditions. Interestingly, the PS strains were more likely to possess microbicide-resistance genes. Microbicide resistance remains an important topic in healthcare and may be independent of antimicrobial resistance. Hospitals should consider stricter isolation precautions that take pan-susceptible strains into account.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)
- Microbiology (medical)
- Infectious Diseases
- Pharmacology (medical)