Pseudomonas Fluorescens Infection: Symptoms & Treatment

Instructor: Dan Washmuth

Dan has taught college Nutrition and Anatomy courses for several years. He has a B.S. in Exercise Physiology from Furman University and a M.S. in Dietetics & Nutrition from Florida International University. He is a Registered Dietitian (RD) and a Certified Exercise Physiologist (EP-C)

Pseudomonas fluorescens is a type of bacteria that can cause infection in patients with compromised immune systems. In this lesson, learn about the symptoms and treatment of infections caused by this bacterium.

Pseudomonas Fluorescens Infections

Jill is a 37-year-old elementary school teacher who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Right after her diagnosis, she began her first sequence of chemotherapy. Even though the chemotherapy made her feel severely sick and tired, she continued to teach.

However, just recently, Jill began feeling even worse. She developed a fever and chills. She initially though these new symptoms were related to her chemotherapy, so she did not pay much attention to them, but they continued to get worse. Finally, Jill decided to go to the hospital to get checked out.

At the hospital, doctors took Jill through several different tests to determine the cause of her increasing fever and constant chills. After a couple of days in the hospital, Jill's doctor informed her that her fever and chills were caused by the Pseudomonas fluorescens bacterium.

Pseudomonas fluorescens is usually found in various soils, plants, and water. This type of bacteria usually lives in warmer climates, growing best at temperatures between 77 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Typically, Pseudomonas fluorescens is non-pathogenic, meaning it does not cause disease in humans. However, there have been cases of this bacterium infecting people who have an impaired immune system, otherwise known as immunocompromised. Cancer patients have been known to become infected by Pseudomonas fluorescens, usually through the blood stream due to contaminated IVs and blood transfusions. This bacterium can also enter the body through contaminated drinking water or produce.

It should be noted that infection caused by Pseudomonas fluorescens is very rare.

Pseudomonas Fluorescens Infections: Symptoms

As mentioned before, Pseudomonas fluorescens can enter the body when medical equipment used to administer IVs or blood transfusions is contaminated. Because contaminated IVs and blood transfusions cause the bacteria to directly enter the blood stream, it can lead to septicemia. Septicemia is a condition of blood poisoning or infection due to bacteria or other pathogens.

Symptoms of septicemia caused by Pseudomonas fluorescens include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate

One of the most common symptoms of a Pseudomonas fluorescens infection is fever.

Pseudomonas Fluorescens Infections: Treatment

Since Pseudomonas fluorescens is a type of bacteria, infections caused by Pseudomonas fluorescens are usually treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are drugs used to treat bacterial infections by killing bacteria in the body. This bacterium has been found to be antibiotic resistant; therefore, it often takes the use of multiple antibiotics to rid the body of Pseudomonas fluorescens.

The best form of treatment for Pseudomonas fluorescens is to prevent the bacterium from entering the body in the first place. People who are immunocompromised, such as cancer patients, should be extra cautious when eating and drinking.

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