Acinetobacter is a well-recognized nosocomial pathogen. Previous reports of community-associated Acinetobacter infections have lacked clear case definitions and assessment of healthcare-associated (HCA) risk factors. We identified Acinetobacter bacteraemia cases from blood cultures obtained <3 days after hospitalization in rural Thailand and performed medical record reviews to assess HCA risk factors in the previous year and compare clinical and microbiological characteristics between cases with and without HCA risk factors. Of 72 Acinetobacter cases, 32 (44%) had no HCA risk factors. Compared to HCA infections, non-HCA infections were more often caused by Acinetobacter species other than calcoaceticus–baumannii complex species and by antibiotic-susceptible organisms. Despite similar symptoms, the case-fatality proportion was lower in non-HCA than HCA cases (9% vs. 45%, P < 0·01). Clinicians should be aware of Acinetobacter as a potential cause of community-associated infections in Thailand; prospective studies are needed to improve understanding of associated risk factors and disease burden.