July 4th – Acinetobacter baumannii is a typically short, almost round, rod-shaped (coccobacillus) Gram-negative bacterium. It can be an opportunistic pathogen in humans, affecting people with compromised immune systems, and is becoming increasingly important as a hospital-derived (nosocomial) infection. While other species of the genus Acinetobacter are often found in soil samples (leading to the common misconception that A. baumannii is a soil organism, too), it is almost exclusively isolated from hospital environments. Although occasionally it has been found in environmental soil and water samples, its natural habitat is still not known. Bacteria of this genus lack flagella, whip-like structures many bacteria use for locomotion, but exhibit twitching or swarming motility. This may be due to the activity of type IV pili, pole-like structures that can be extended and retracted. Motility in A. baumannii may also be due to the excretion of exopolysaccharide, creating a film of high-molecular-weight sugar chains behind the bacterium to move forward. Clinical microbiologists typically differentiate members of the Acinetobacter genus from other Moraxellaceae by performing an oxidase test, as Acinetobacter spp. are the only members of the Moraxellaceae to lack cytochrome c oxidases. A. baumannii is part of the ACB complex (A. baumannii, A. calcoaceticus, and Acinetobacter genomic species 13TU). Members of the ACB complex are difficult to determine the specific species and comprise the most clinically relevant members of the genus. A. baumannii has also been identified as an ESKAPE pathogen (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species), a group of pathogens with a high rate of antibiotic resistance that are responsible for the majority of nosocomial infections. Colloquially, A. baumannii is referred to as ‘Iraqibacter’ due to its seemingly sudden emergence in military treatment facilities during the Iraq War. It has continued to be an issue for veterans and soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Multidrug-resistant A. baumannii has spread to civilian hospitals in part due to the transport of infected soldiers through multiple medical facilities. Due to the prevalence of infections and outbreaks caused by multidrug-resistant A. baumannii, few antibiotics are effective for treating infections caused by this pathogen. To overcome this problem, knowledge of the pathogenesis, antibiotic resistance mechanisms, and prospective treatment options of A. baumannii is important.