Common Bacterial Diseases in Humans

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Have you wondered what some of the more common bacterial diseases that affect humans are? This lesson goes over some of them as well as the problems they cause.

Bacteria and Diseases

Look at your surroundings. What do you see? Maybe chairs, tables, and probably floors and ceilings. If you look super hard you might be able to count dozens, maybe even hundreds of different objects. But the things you can't see number in the billions, if not trillions. What are they? Bacteria, microscopic organisms that may cause people all sorts of diseases.

Now, don't be scared. Just because you can't see them, doesn't mean they're all out to get you. In fact, most of the bacteria around you are either completely harmless to the healthy person or harmless in general. However, there are some that are not harmless at all. This lesson will go over some common bacterial diseases and the bacteria that may cause them.

Pneumonia and Strep Throat

One of these diseases is called pneumonia, which is inflammation of the lungs. That inflammation can be caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and even chemicals! One of the most common causes of pneumonia is a type of bacterium called Streptococcus pneumoniae. Pretty good name, right? It tells us exactly what problem it causes.

Streptococcus bacteria actually cause another pretty common bacterial problem, that of strep throat. This kind of disease is caused by Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. If you were to look at these guys under the microscope, they would look like chains of balls.

The Chain-Like Structure of Many Streptococci Bacteria

Skin Infections

Staphylococci are bacteria that also look like balls under the microscope, but aren't found in chains like Streptococci. Staphylococci bacteria are a very common cause of skin infections, including deadly ones. One of them is known as Staphylococcus aureus. This type of bacteria can be found on the skin of perfectly healthy people. S. aureus bacteria don't have to cause you any problems so long as you're healthy, so don't be afraid of these guys.

However, if your skin's integrity becomes compromised due to something like a cut or scrape, then these specific types of bacteria will jump right into your body and may cause you a skin infection, often called a Staph infection. This will result in everything from pimples to a rash to wounds that don't heal.

Staphylococcus aureus
Staph Bacteria

Digestive Disorders

But a rash is certainly better than fluids coming out of both ends of your body. Yes, you know what I'm talking about: food poisoning. Sorry for the graphic imagery there, but food poisoning is indeed an illness that causes vomiting and diarrhea, as well as nausea, abdominal pain and fever. Anyway, food poisoning is often caused by bacteria. Specifically, two types of bacteria called E. coli and Salmonella.

Salmonella bacteria can be found in raw milk, eggs, and meat products. To avoid it, make sure to prepare all of your meat, poultry, and dairy properly. E.coli commonly comes from beef contaminated with feces. If you like to eat your steaks rare or medium-rare, you're putting yourself at risk for food poisoning, including symptoms such as a fever, nausea, vomiting, and lots of wonderful diarrhea.

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