Volume 19, Number 5—May 2013
From the Greek akineto (immobile), a genus of gram-negative paired coccobacilli that are widely distributed in nature and can cause severe primary infections in compromised hosts. Acinetobacter was most likely first described as Diplococcus mucosus in 1908. In 1954, Brisou and PrA(c)vot proposed the genus Acinetobacter to indicate that the bacteria were nonmotile because they lacked flagella. Acinetobacter are still generally described as nonmotile, but most isolates exhibit "otwitching" motility.
Acinetobacter baumannii—named in honor of American bacteriologists Paul and Linda Baumann—is a nosocomial pathogen with acquired multidrug resistance that is emerging as a major concern worldwide. Motility is linked to increased virulence in bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Dichelobacter nodosus; however, whether motility plays a role in the virulence of A. baumannii remains unclear.