Important Pathogenic Bacteria

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  • 0:01 Pathogenic Bacteria
  • 0:38 Bacillus, Spirochetes…
  • 3:33 Staph & E. Coli Bacteria
  • 5:31 Strep Bacteria
  • 6:35 Lesson Summary
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Instructor: Adrianne Baron

Adrianne has a master's degree in cancer biology and has taught high school and college biology.

We will discuss some of the pathogenic bacteria that cause common and sometimes serious infections in our bodies. We will look at the infections and their symptoms as well.

Pathogenic Bacteria

Bacteria are all around us regardless of where we go. We even need some bacteria in order to survive and carry out basic functions, like making food and digesting food. There are bacteria in our world that can cause diseases in our bodies and some that are capable of killing us. The bacteria that cause diseases in our bodies and potentially kill us are considered to be pathogenic.

The usual reason for them being pathogenic has to do with the toxins that they produce and release in or on our bodies. We are going to spend a little time discussing some pathogenic bacteria.

Bacillus, Spirochetes, Rickettsia

You may recall the events that happened on September 11, 2001. The biggest terror attack on U.S. soil took place. The attack was done using airplanes. Not long after that, other terror attacks started, but they weren't using airplanes. If you remember, we were all making sure our mail didn't contain any white powder. They were using anthrax. Anthrax comes from the bacteria Bacillus anthracis.

This bacteria is usually found in the feces of some animals, soil, and the bodies of deceased animals. It is usually in its dormant state when in soil and becomes active once it enters the right environment, such as the inside of a human body. B. anthracis can cause disease in the skin, GI tract, and lungs, depending on if it broke through the skin, was ingested, or inhaled to enter the body. The symptoms also differ based on the type of anthrax. These can include nausea, coughing up blood, shortness of breath, diarrhea, and muscle aches.

Our next two bacteria are spirochetes. Borrelia burgdorferi causes Lyme disease. People develop Lyme disease when a deer tick that has the bacteria bites them. A large, red spot will appear and grow where the bite occurred. The other common symptoms include fever and muscle aches.

The other spirochete bacteria we are going to discuss is Treponema pallidum. Syphilis is the disease that results if this bacteria gets into your body. Syphilis is sexually transmitted between people. In the first stage of syphilis, sores appear in the genitals or mouth. During the second stage, a reddish-colored rash appears on the inside of the hands and bottoms of the feet. The symptoms of late-stage syphilis are lesions appearing on the internal organs, which can result in death.

The last classification of bacteria for this section are the Rickettsiae bacteria. Typhus fever is most commonly caused by Rickettsia prowazekii or Rickettsia typhi. The bacteria enters people through a flea or tick bite.

There are two types of typhus fever: endemic and epidemic. Endemic typhus fever symptoms can include fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and a rash. Epidemic typhus fever symptoms include the ones for endemic and hypotension, bleeding of the skin, shock, delirium, and death.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is caused by the bacteria Rickettsia rickettsii. This is another disease that is transmitted to people through a tick bite. The symptoms of this disease are fever, muscle pain, headache, chills, and rash. There are some less common symptoms that some people experience with the disease, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hallucinations.

Staph and E. Coli Bacteria

There are many strains of staph bacteria. Most of them cause no or mild diseases in our bodies. As a matter of fact, we have Staph bacteria naturally on the surface of our bodies.

Staphylococcus aureus is the species that's responsible for the majority of staph infections that people get. This species is responsible for infections like cellulitis, boils, pneumonia, and bacteremia.

Of these, pneumonia and bacteremia are the most serious. The most common symptoms for pneumonia and bacteremia are fever, chills, malaise, and shortness of breath. The symptoms for the other two infections will vary depending on the type. Boils and cellulitis involve the skin as well as fat tissue and produce swelling, pain, and pus. Staph infections are spread by direct contact with an infected person, and the bacteria enters through cuts and scrapes on the skin.

The next bacteria is one that makes the news quite often. Escherichia coli, or E. coli, can cause a variety of infections. Now, most E. coli are harmless, and they are found naturally in our intestines.

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