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Journal of Clinical Microbiology
Vol. 44, No. 12, 2006; Pages: 4471-4478

Bacterial Identification, Clinical Significance, and Antimicrobial Susceptibilities of Acinetobacter ursingii and Acinetobacter schindleri, Two Frequently Misidentified Opportunistic Pathogens

Laurent Dortet, Patrick Legrand, Claude-James Soussy, and Vincent Cattoir*

Laboratoire de Bactériologie-Virologie-Hygiène, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Henri Mondor, 94010 Créteil Cedex, France.


The species belonging to the Acinetobacter genus are currently reported as opportunistic pathogens in hospitalized patients with underlying predispositions. However, except for the Acinetobacter calcoaceticus-Acinetobacter baumannii complex, the identification of other species is frequently unreliable, especially for Acinetobacter ursingii and Acinetobacter schindleri, newly described in 2001. Thus, the clinical significance, phenotypic features, and antimicrobial susceptibilities of these two misidentified species remain unclear. Of 456 Acinetobacter sp. clinical strains isolated from 2002 to 2005 in Henri Mondor Hospital, 15 isolates (10 A. ursingii and 5 A. schindleri isolates) were studied. They were characterized using a phenotypic approach (API 20 NE and VITEK 2 systems), 16S rRNA gene sequencing, and susceptibility to antimicrobial agents with evaluation of impact in clinical relevance. The two corresponding type strains were also included for comparison. All isolates were identified to the species level using molecular tools, whereas the phenotypic methods remained unreliable due to the absence of these two species in the manufacturers' databases. However, the API 20 NE system appeared to be a reasonably reliable phenotypic alternative for the identification of A. ursingii when the numerical code 0000071 was found. Conversely, no discriminative phenotypic alternative existed for A. schindleri isolates. Concerning antimicrobial susceptibility, A. ursingii strains appeared to be more resistant to antibiotics than A. schindleri strains, which could imply therapeutic consequences. Finally, the prevalence of infections caused by A. ursingii and A. schindleri (representing 9.7% and 4.8% of non-A. calcoaceticus-A. baumannii complex strains, respectively) seems to be underestimated.

Keywords:Acinetobacter genus;Acinetobacter calcoaceticus;Pathogens;Acinetobacter baumannii;Acinetobacter ursingii;Acinetobacter schindleri;Acinetobacter sp;taxonomy.

Corresponding author: Tel 33 1 49 81 68 16; Fax 33 1 49 81 28 39

E-mail: vincent.cattoir@hmn.aphp.fr


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