Bacterial infections are a common type of infection. Other types of infection can have similar symptoms and complications but one of the big differences between bacterial infections and other types is the treatment.
This type of infection can be treated with antibiotics but other types of infection cannot. Due to overuse and misuse of antibiotics there are some bacterial stains that are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and VRSA (vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) are two of them.
Common Infections That are Caused by Bacteria
Bacterial infections can be spread by direct or indirect contact. Resilient bacteria like staph can adapt and mutate to survive, which is how MRSA came into existence. There are many types of bacterial infections and here is a list of the 7 most common ones.
This is bacterial infection is often prevented by getting a tetanus shot (vaccine) or booster every ten years. After an incubation period that ranges from 2 days to weeks, the skeletal muscles will tighten, including the muscles in the mouth and throat, giving it the nickname “lock jaw”. This can be life threatening because it can cause suffocation. Tetanus bacteria are present in saliva, manure, dust, and dirt. It enters the body through deep punctures or cuts like the ones that can occur from stepping on a nail.
Vibrio cholerae bacteria are found in food or water that has been contaminated by feces. Proper hygiene and processing of food will prevent this infection. It can cause mild or severe diarrhea, which may lead to extreme dehydration and even shock. Though not commonly found in the United States, outbreaks do occur after disasters when sewer systems are damaged. The incubation period is 7-10 days.
This highly adaptable and resilient bacterium is responsible for a variety of staph infection. From excessive and irresponsible antibiotic use staphylococcus has adapted to be resistant to many commonly used antibiotics. The group of bacteria that are resistant to the methicillin antibiotic family is known as MRSA and the strain resistant to the vancomycin antibiotic family is known as VRSA. This type of infection can rapidly turn a minor cut into a life threatening infection.
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s)
Herpes (which is related to the same virus that causes chicken pox) and HIV/AIDS are from viruses, but not all STD’s are. Syphilis and gonorrhea are two STD’s that are caused by bacteria. Syphilis, which has an incubation of 3-12 weeks, causes small sores on the mouth, lips, genitals, and anus. It can also cause a rash and lymph nodes to swell. Neisseria gonorrhoeae is responsible for gonorrhea and it can cause infertility if untreated. The symptoms include burning upon urination and inflammation. These bacterial infections can be passed from mother to baby during the birth process.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Koch bacterium), which is also known as TB, is a bacterial infection that commonly infects the lungs but can affect other parts of the body. There are strains that have mutated and are resistant to treatment. This has occurred because treatment is not completed and the stronger resistant strain survives. Night sweats, cough, weight loss, weakness, and coughing up blood are the symptoms of this bacterial infection. It spreads through coughing, sneezing, and talking.
Commonly a bacterial infection will cause pneumonia but a fungus or virus can also cause it. It can cause flu like symptoms and difficulty in breathing because the lungs can fill with fluid. Treatment includes antibiotics, oxygen, and fluids. It is spread by coming into contact with the bacteria that causes it.
- Legionnaire’s disease
This is a respiratory infection caused by the bacteria legionellose. It is transmitted in contaminated water, mist from hot tubs, showers and from air-conditioning units; but not from person to person. It causes flu like symptoms and breathing problems. Prompt treatment is needed to prevent renal failure.
For information on clinical trials about bacterial infection read, Bacterial Infections – clinicaltrials.gov.
Non-Bacterial Types of Infections
Bacterial infections are one type of infection that most people are familiar with, but many people get viral infections confused with bacterial infections. These are some of the other types of infections:
- Fungal infections - caused by a fungus and is spread by exposure to the fungus spores in the air, direct contact, or food source
- Parasite infections – caused by a parasite and is spread by hosts or exposure to the parasite
- Viral infections – caused by a virus and is spread from contact with an infected person, animal, or a host like mosquitoes
- Prion infections – rare infection of the brain that may be caused by abnormal prion protein and spread through ingestion of infected animals
The best way to prevent the spread of any type of infection is to wash hands with soap and water and to use barriers like latex gloves when working in environments that have a risk of having infections spread. Proper food preparation and storage will also reduce the risk of infections.
For more information on bacterial and other infections, List of Common Infectious Diseases – buzzle.com.
Though antibiotics successfully treat bacterial infections, antibiotic treatment can increase the risk for MRSA, VRSA, and C. diff (Clostridium difficile). Preventing Staph infections and building a strong immune system is well worth the effort.