You may have already heard of the MRSA superbug, a drug-resistant bacteria that can lead to infection and even death.
Now, an expert is warning that hospitals and healthcare settings may harbor an even more dangerous bacterium known as acinetobacter baumannii (A baumannii).
According to Matthew Falagas, director of the Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences in Greece, the bacteria causes around 30 percent of drug-resistant hospital infections worldwide.
The bacteria can survive on surfaces and are resistant to disinfectants, which make it difficult to fully eliminate their existence in healthcare facilities.
"There is a growing frequency of A baumannii infections in various hospitals around the world," Falagas told Reuters. "The infections are difficult to treat because the bugs are resistant to most agents."
In a study published in The Lancet, experts called for further measures to address the risk posed by drug-resistant bacteria in hospitals. Hand-washing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of these infections.
The warning about A baumannii follows the findings of a study reported last week, which discovered that hospital infections from the bacteria clostridium difficile were more common than previously thought.