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Although the vast majority of bacteria are harmless or beneficial, quite a few bacteria are pathogenic. One of the bacterial diseases with highest disease burden is tuberculosis, caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which kills about 2 million people a year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Pathogenic bacteria contribute to other globally important diseases, such as pneumonia, which can be caused by bacteria such as Streptococcus and Pseudomonas, and foodborne illnesses, which can be caused by bacteria such as Shigella, Campylobacter, and Salmonella. Pathogenic bacteria also cause infections such as tetanus, typhoid fever, diphtheria, syphilis, and leprosy.
Koch's postulates are criteria designed to establish a causal relationship between a causative microbe and a disease.
Diseases[edit | edit source]
Conditionally pathogenic[edit | edit source]
Conditionally pathogenic bacteria are only pathogenic under certain conditions, such as a wound that allows for entry into the blood, or a decrease in immune function.
For example, Staphylococcus or Streptococcus are also part of the normal human flora and usually exist on the skin or in the nose without causing disease, but can potentially cause skin infections, pneumonia, meningitis, and even overwhelming sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response producing shock, massive vasodilation and death.
Some species of bacteria, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cenocepacia, and Mycobacterium avium, are opportunistic pathogens and cause disease mainly in people suffering from immunosuppression or cystic fibrosis.
Intracellular[edit | edit source]
Other organisms invariably cause disease in humans, such as obligate intracellular parasites (e.g. Chlamydophila, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia) that are able to grow and reproduce only within the cells of other organisms. Still, infections with intracellular bacteria may be asymptomatic, such as during the incubation period. An example of intracellular bacteria is Rickettsia. One species of Rickettsia causes typhus, while another causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever.
By location[edit | edit source]
Following is a list of bacterial infections classified by location in the body:
- Bacterial vaginosis is a disease of the vagina caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring bacterial flora and is often confused with yeast infection (candidiasis), or infection with Trichomonas vaginalis (trichomoniasis), which are not caused by bacteria.
- Bacterial meningitis is a bacterial inflammation of the meninges, that is, the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.
- Bacterial pneumonia is a bacterial infection of the lungs.
- Urinary tract infection is almost exclusively caused by bacteria. Symptoms include frequent feeling and/or need to urinate, pain during urination, and cloudy urine. The main causal agent is Escherichia coli. Although urine contains a variety of fluids, salts, and waste products, it does not usually have bacteria in it, but when bacteria get into the bladder or kidney and multiply in the urine, they may cause a UTI.
- Bacterial gastroenteritis is caused by pathogenic enteric bacteria. Such pathogenic enteric bacteria are generally distinguished from the usually harmless bacteria of the normal gut flora, but the distinction is often not fully clear, and Escherichia, for example, can belong to either group.
- Bacterial skin infections include:
- Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection most common among pre-school children. It is primarily caused by Staphylococcus aureus, and sometimes by Streptococcus pyogenes.
- Erysipelas is an acute streptococcus bacterial infection of the deep epidermis with lymphatic spread.
- Cellulitis is a diffuse inflammation of connective tissue with severe inflammation of dermal and subcutaneous layers of the skin. Cellulitis can be caused by normal skin flora or by exogenous bacteria, and often occurs where the skin has previously been broken: cracks in the skin, cuts, blisters, burns, insect bites, surgical wounds, intravenous drug injection, or sites of intravenous catheter insertion. Skin on the face or lower legs is most commonly affected by this infection, though cellulitis can occur on any part of the body.
Treatment[edit | edit source]
Bacterial infections may be treated with antibiotics, which are classified as bacteriocidal if they kill bacteria or bacteriostatic if they just prevent bacterial growth. There are many types of antibiotics and each class inhibits a process that is different in the pathogen from that found in the host. For example, the antibiotics chloramphenicol and tetracyclin inhibit the bacterial ribosome but not the structurally different eukaryotic ribosome, so they exhibit selective toxicity. Antibiotics are used both in treating human disease and in intensive farming to promote animal growth. Both uses may be contributing to the rapid development of antibiotic resistance in bacterial populations. Phage therapy can also be used to treat certain bacterial infections. Infections can be prevented by antiseptic measures such as sterilizing the skin prior to piercing it with the needle of a syringe and by proper care of indwelling catheters. Surgical and dental instruments are also sterilized to prevent infection by bacteria. Disinfectants such as bleach are used to kill bacteria or other pathogens on surfaces to prevent contamination and further reduce the risk of infection. Bacteria in food are killed by cooking to temperatures above 73 °C (163°F).
List of pathogenic bacteria by basic laboratory characteristics[edit | edit source]
|Genus||Important species||Gram staining||Shape||Capsulation||Bonding tendency||Motility||Respiration||Growth medium||Intra/Extracellular|
|Bordetella||Gram-negative||Small coccobacilli||Encapsulated||singly or in pairs||aerobic||Regan-Lowe agar||extracellular|
|Borrelia||Gram-negative, but stains poorly||spirochete||Long, slender, flexible, spiral- or corkscrew-shaped rods||highly motile||anaerobic||(difficult to culture)||extracellular|
|Brucella||Gram-negative||Small coccobacilli||Unencapsulated||singly or in pairs||non-motile||aerobic||Blood agar||intracellular|
|Campylobacter||Gram-negative||Curved, spiral, or S-shaped
bacilli with single, polar flagellum
|Unencapsulated||Singly||characteristic darting motion||microaerophilic||Blood agar inhibiting other fecal flora||extracellular|
|Chlamydia and Chlamydophila||(not Gram-stained)||Small, round, ovoid||Unencapsulated||motile||Facultative or strictly aerobic||Obligate intracellular|
|Clostridium||Gram-positive||Large, blunt-ended rods||Normally encapsulated||mostly motile||Obligate anaerobic||Anaerobic blood agar||extracellular|
|Corynebacterium||Gram-positive (unevenly)||Small, slender, pleomorphic rods||Unencapsulated||clumps looking like Chinese characters or a picket fence||nonmotile||Mostly facultative anaerobic||Aerobically on Tinsdale agar||extracellular|
|Enterococcus||Gram-positive||Round to ovoid (cocci)||pairs or chains||Non-motile||Facultative Anaerobic||6.5% NaCl, bile-esculin agar||extracellular|
|Escherichia||Gram-negative||Short rods (bacilli)||Encapsulated and Unencapsulated||Normally motile||Facultative anaerobic||MacConkey agar||extracellular or intracellular|
|Francisella||Gram-negative||Small, pleomorphic coccobacillus||Encapsulated||Non-motile||strictly aerobic||(rarely cultured)||Facultative intracellular|
|Haemophilus||Gram-negative||Ranging from small coccobacillus to long, slender filaments||Encapsulated or Unencapsulated||Non-motile||Chocolate agar with hemin and NAD+||extracellular|
|Helicobacter||Gram-negative||Curved or spiral rods
pultiple polar flagella
|rapid, corkscrew motility||Microaerophile||Medium containing antibiotics against other fecal flora||extracellular|
|Legionella||Gram-negative, but stains poorly||Slender rod in nature, cocobacillary in laboratory.
|unencapsulated||motile||aerobic||Specialized medium||facultative intracellular|
|Leptospira||Gram-negative, but stains poorly||Long, very slender, flexible, spiral- or corkscrew-shaped rods||Highly motile||Strictly aerobic||Specialized medium||extracellular|
|Listeria||Gram-positive, darkly||Slender, short rods||diplobacilli or short chains||Distinct tumbling motility in liquid medium||Facultative Anaerobic||enriched medium||intracellular|
|Mycobacterium||(none)||Long, slender rods||Unencapsulated||nonmotile||aerobic||M. tuberculosis: Lowenstein-Jensen agar
M. leprae: (none)
|Mycoplasma||(none)||Plastic, pleomorphic||Encapsulated||singly or in pairs||Mostly facultative anaerobic; M.pneumoniae strictly aerobic||(rarely cultured)||extracellular|
|Neisseria||Gram-negative||Kidney bean-shaped||Encapsulated or Unencapsulated||diplococci||Non-motile||aerobic||Thayer-Martin agar||Gonococcus: facultative intracellular|
N. meningitidis: extracellular
|Pseudomonas||Gram-negative||rods||encapsulated||motile||Obligate aerobic||MacConkey agar||extracellular|
|Rickettsia||Gram-negative, but stains poorly||Small, rod-like coccobacillary||Slime/microcapsule||Non-motile||Aerobic||(rarely cultured)||Obligate intracellular|
|Salmonella||Gram-negative||Bacilli||Encapsulated||Normally motile||Facultative anaerobic||MacConkey agar||Facultative intracellular|
|Shigella||Gram-negative||rods||Unencapsulated||Non-motile||Facultative anaerobic||Hektoen agar||extracellular|
|Staphylococcus||Gram-positive, darkly||Round cocci||Encapsulated or Unencapsulated||in bunches like grapes||Non-motile||Facultative anaerobic||enriched medium (broth and/or blood)||extracellular|
|Streptococcus||Gram-positive||ovoid to spherical||Encapsulated or Unencapsulated||pairs or chains||nonmotile||Facultative anaerobic||blood agar||extracellular|
|Treponema||Gram-negative, but stains poorly||Long, slender, flexible, spiral- or corkscrew-shaped rods||highly motile||Aerobic||none||extracellular|
|Vibrio||Gram-negative||Short, curved, rod-shaped with single polar flagellum||Unencapsulated||rapidly motile||Facultative anaerobic||blood- or MacConkey agar. Stimulated by NaCl||extracellular|
|Yersinia||Gram-negative, stains bipolarly||Small rods||encapsulated||nonmotile||Facultative Anaerobe||MacConkey or CIN agar||Intracellular|
List of pathogenic bacteria by clinical characteristics[edit | edit source]
This is a rather clinical description of the species presented in the previous section, containing the main examples of transmission, diseases, treatment, prevention and laboratory diagnosis, which all can differ substantially among the species of the same genus.
||In early infection:||
|Borrelia burgdorferi||Ixodes ticks
reservoir in deer, mice and other rodents
||Combination therapy of:||-|
||No available vaccine
||Community-acquired respiratory infection||None||None for routine use|
|Chlamydia trachomatis||No vaccine
|Chlamydophila psittaci||Inhalation of dust with secretions or feces from birds (e.g. parrots)||Psittacosis||-||
|Clostridium botulinum||Spores from soil and aquatic sediments contaminating vegetables, meat and fish||
|Appropriate food handling||
|Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium||
|Escherichia coli (generally)||
(resistance-tests are required first)
|(no vaccine or preventive drug)
|Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC)||
|Enteropathogenic E. coli||
|E. coli O157:H7||
(resistance-tests are required first)
||(No vaccine or preventive drug)|
|Legionella pneumophila||(no vaccine or preventive drug)
Prevention of exposure
||Isolation from e.g. blood and CSF
(difficult, see Tuberculosis treatment for more details)
Standard "short" course:
||(difficult to culture)|
|Neisseria gonorrhoeae||Uncomplicated gonorrhea:
|Pseudomonas aeruginosa||Infects damaged tissues or people with reduced immunity.||
Localized to eye, ear, skin, urinary, respiratory or gastrointestinal tract or CNS, or systemic with bacteremia, secondary pneumonia bone and joint infections, endocarditis, skin, soft tissue or CNS infections.
|Rickettsia rickettsii||(no preventive drug or approved vaccine)
||(No vaccine or preventive drug)
|Staphylococcus aureus||Coagulase-positive staphylococcal infections:||(no vaccine or preventive drug)
|Staphylococcus epidermidis||Human flora in skin and anterior nares||
|Staphylococcus saprophyticus||Part of normal vaginal flora||
|Streptococcus agalactiae||Human flora in vagina or urethral mucous membranes, rectum||None|
||No preventive drug or vaccine
||Cannot be cultured or viewed in gram-stained smear|
See also[edit | edit source]
- Human flora
- Human microbiome project
- List of antibiotics
- List of human diseases associated with infectious pathogens
- Pathogenic viruses
- Sexually-transmitted disease
References[edit | edit source]
- Fish DN (February 2002). Optimal antimicrobial therapy for sepsis. Am J Health Syst Pharm 59 (Suppl 1): S13–9.
- Heise E (1982). Diseases associated with immunosuppression. Environ Health Perspect 43: 9–19.
- Saiman L (2004). Microbiology of early CF lung disease. Paediatr Respir Rev 5 (Suppl A): S367–9.
- Belland R, Ouellette S, Gieffers J, Byrne G (2004). Chlamydia pneumoniae and atherosclerosis. Cell Microbiol 6 (2): 117–27.
- Terri Warren, RN (2010). Is It a Yeast Infection?. URL accessed on 2011-02-23.
- Ferris DG, Nyirjesy P, Sobel JD, Soper D, Pavletic A, Litaker MS (March 2002). Over-the-counter antifungal drug misuse associated with patient-diagnosed vulvovaginal candidiasis. Obstetrics and Gynecology 99 (3): 419–425.
- Urinary Tract Infections. URL accessed on 2010-02-04.
- Adult Health Advisor 2005.4: Bacteria in Urine, No Symptoms (Asymptomatic Bacteriuria). URL accessed on 2007-08-25.
- NHS Impetigo
- Kumar, Vinay; Abbas, Abul K.; Fausto, Nelson; & Mitchell, Richard N. (2007). Robbins Basic Pathology (8th ed.). Saunders Elsevier. pp. 843 ISBN 978-1-4160-2973-1
- Yonath A, Bashan A (2004). Ribosomal crystallography: initiation, peptide bond formation, and amino acid polymerization are hampered by antibiotics. Annu Rev Microbiol 58: 233–51.
- Khachatourians GG (November 1998). Agricultural use of antibiotics and the evolution and transfer of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. CMAJ 159 (9): 1129–36.
- Unless else specified then ref is: Fisher, Bruce; Harvey, Richard P.; Champe, Pamela C. (2007). Lippincott's Illustrated Reviews: Microbiology (Lippincott's Illustrated Reviews Series), 332–353, Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
- Institut Pasteur Press Office - Vaccine against shigellosis (bacillary dysentery):a promising clinical trial 15 January 2009. Retrieved on 27 February 2009
[edit | edit source]
- Bacterial Pathogen Pronunciation by Neal R. Chamberlain, Ph.D at A.T. Still University
- Pathogenic bacteria genomes and related information at PATRIC, a Bioinformatics Resource Center funded by NIAID
Template:Infectious disease Template:Pathogenic microbes Template:Gram-positive firmicutes diseases Template:Gram-positive actinobacteria diseases Template:Gram-negative proteobacterial diseases Template:Gram-negative non-proteobacterial diseases
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