Bacterial Infections

Abdomen | Gastroenterology | Bacterial Infections (Disease)


Bacteria are one cell microorganisms. Under a microscope, they have an aspect of balls, rods or spirals. Some bacteria are an important help in digestion, can destroy disease by producing cells and give the body needed vitamins. Bacteria are also used in yogurt and cheese preparation.

The symptoms of bacterial diseases can also resemble symptoms of other diseases, such as colitis, influenza, and viral infections. The classic symptom of a bacterial infection is a fever, although not all people with a bacterial infection will have a fever. Bacterial disease symptoms can include: bloody urine and painful, frequent urination; diarrhea; flu-like symptoms such as fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, cough, aches; irritability; nausea and vomiting; pain such as joint, ear or abdominal pain; rashes, lesions and abscesses; stiff neck; weakness. In some cases, bacterial diseases can result in serious or life-threatening complications, such as sepsis or kidney failure.

Causes and Risk factors

Bacterial diseases occur when pathogenic bacteria get into the body and begin to reproduce and crowd out healthy bacteria, or to grow in tissues that are normally sterile. Harmful bacteria may also emit toxins that damage the body.

Common pathogenic bacteria and the types of bacterial diseases they cause include: Escherichia coli and Salmonella cause food poisoning; Helicobacter pylori cause gastritis and ulcers; Neisseria gonorrhoeae causes the sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea; Neisseria meningitidis causes meningitis; Staphylococcus aureus causes a variety of infections in the body, including boils, cellulitis, abscesses, wound infections, toxic shock syndrome, pneumonia, and food poisoning; Streptococcal bacteria cause a variety of infections in the body, including pneumonia, meningitis, ear infections, and strep throat.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Bacterial diseases are treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics may be given orally, intravenously, or by intramuscular injection, depending on the type and severity of bacterial disease and other factors. Treatment of bacterial infections also includes: good nutrition, increased fluids and rest. ...