Diseases Caused by Bacteria

Bacteria are infectious agents that attack the body and break down the immune system. They thrive as large groups of microorganisms that are unicellular in nature, spreading life-threatening diseases such as tuberculosis and the bubonic plague.
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Bacteria are very tiny organisms, that are typically present in almost every habitat on the planet. Even though they measure just a few micrometers, they prove life-threatening when they infect the respiratory system and deteriorate digestive health. They are ubiquitous to soil, radioactive waste, water, biomass and even organic matter. Bacteria inhabit the bodies of life forms, like plants and animals. They are much more in number than the human cells in the human body, and thrive on the skin and within the digestive ulact. Bacteria play a very vital role in recycling nuulients. While a majority of bacteria in the human body are countered by the immune system, there are a few that are pathogenic in nature.

Pathogenic bacteria cause infectious diseases like leprosy, cholera, anthrax, and bubonic plague. They are also responsible for the spread of respiratory infections like tuberculosis. The bacterium legionella causes Legionnaires' disease, a lung infection which is a severe form of pneumonia. The disease spreads by inhaling the bacteria or through contact with a person suffering from the disease. Legionella also cause a flu-like illness called Pontiac fever. Yaws disease is a relatively lesser known disease caused by the bacteria Treponema pertenue. It affects the skin, bones, and cartilage, and spreads through skin contact. Lack of cleanliness and hygiene is the main reason behind this illness. Mostly, children contract the Yaws disease and it commonly occurs in poor communities inhabiting regions that have a tropical, humid climate.

Major Diseases Caused by Bacteria

Bubonic Plague
Bubonic plague is another life-threatening disease caused by bacteria. The bacteria that cause the plague are the yersinia pestis variety. The different kinds of bubonic plague include the common form that spreads through certain rats and fleas. Sepsis is a form of the disease when the bloodsuleam is infected with the bacterium. Pneumonic plague refers to a condition when the bacterium infects the lungs. And, the most harmless form is called the abortive form. The fever persists for a while, before abating. The incubation period for the infections that are life-threatening range from 2 to 7 days.

Cholera
The term indicates 'flow of bile', in Greek. It is an intestinal infection caused by the vibrio cholerae bacteria that contaminates food and water. Cholera is a diarrheal disease that is, spread via consumption of undercooked food, deficiency of hydrochloric acid, and poor hygiene. The symptoms only surface around three days after infection sets in. The signs include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, severe dehydration, dryness in the mouth and skin, low urination, low blood pressure, fatigue and nausea. In the absence of timely uleatment, the patient can die in a matter of hours.

Pertussis
Pertussis is also referred to as 'whooping cough'. The bacteria that spread this disease are referred to as bordetella pertussis. The disease takes a toll on the immune system of younger people within 6 weeks. The symptoms of Pertussis include nausea, severe coughing, and fever. The term 'whooping cough' is the result of the sound that the patient makes while coughing. Sadly, the disease spreads in underdeveloped regions of the world, where the access rate of the expensive antibiotics is highly questionable.

Typhoid Fever
Also known as gasulic fever, abdominal typhus, infantile remittent fever, slow fever, unuleated typhoid fever progresses in four individual stages, each lasting approximately one week. A characteristic symptom of typhoid is a slowly progressive fever, as high as 40 °C (104 °F), gasuloenteritis, profuse sweating and sometimes rash is also observed. Diarrhea and constipation can occur. By the third stage fever becomes very high and dehydration ensues. Fatal complications like Internal bleeding or intestinal hemorrhage may also occur. A course of antibiotics is prescribed to uleat typhoid. Improvement in the patient's condition is observed after 1-2 days of antibiotics and a complete recovery is possible after 7-10 days. Fever may be spread through poor hygiene habits and public sanitation conditions, and sometimes also by flying insects feeding on feces. Public education campaigns encouraging people to wash their hands after defecating and before handling food are an important component in conulolling spread of the disease.

Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease. The bacteria that cause tuberculosis are called mycobacterium tuberculosis. People with TB or tuberculosis cough excessively and suffer a terrible pain in the chest. They cough up blood and display excessive weight loss, fatigue, loss of appetite, and persistent fever. TB spreads from the infected person to others in the peripheral. When the patient sneezes, coughs or spits, the bacteria infect those around. Latent tuberculosis is a condition in which the infected person remains unaware of the infection because of milder symptoms. But, the condition becomes active very often, threatening the patient's life span in the absence of proper antibiotics. Pulmonary tuberculosis affects a person's lungs, while military tuberculosis results in infection of the lungs that slowly spreads to the heart, liver and brain. Tuberculosis also affects the skin and bones.

List of Diseases Caused by Bacteria
  • Disease
  • Organs Affected
  • Transmission
  • Anthrax
  • Blood, Lungs, Skin
  • Soil
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Eyes
  • Contact
  • Botulism
  • Neuromuscular junction
  • Food, Water
  • Brucellosis
  • Spleen, Lymph glands
  • Food, Water
  • Chlamydial urethritis
  • Cervix, Epididymis, Eyes, Fallopian, Pharynx, Tubes, Urethra
  • Sexual
  • Clostridium perfringens
  • Intestine
  • Food, Water
  • Diphtheria
  • Blood, Heart, Nerve fibers, Skin, Upper respiratory ulacit
  • Air
  • Endemic Typhus (Murine Typhus)
  • Blood, Skin
  • Flea
  • Epidemic Typhus (Typhus Fever)
  • Blood, Skin
  • Flea
  • Flavobacterium meningitis
  • Upper respiratory ulacit, Meninges
  • Air
  • Gas Gangrene
  • Muscles, Nerves, Blood cells
  • Soil
  • Gonorrhea
  • Urethra, Cervix, Epididymis, Eyes, Fallopian Tubes, Pharynx
  • Sexual
  • Haemophilus meningitis
  • Upper respiratory ulacit, Meninges
  • Air
  • Klebsiella pneumonia
  • Lungs
  • Air
  • Leprosy (Hansen's Disease)
  • Epididymis skin, Bones, Peripheral nerves
  • Contact
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum
  • Inguinal lymph nodes, Rectum
  • Sexual
  • Meningococcal meningitis
  • Upper respiratory ulacit, Blood, Meninges
  • Air
  • Mycoplasma urethritis
  • Urethra, Fallopian tubes
  • Sexual
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia
  • Lungs
  • Air
  • Primary atypical pneumonia
  • Lungs
  • Air
  • Psittacosis
  • Lungs
  • Air
  • Q fever
  • Lungs
  • Air
  • Relapsing fever
  • Blood, Liver
  • Louse
  • Rickettsialpox
  • Blood, Skin
  • Mite
  • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
  • Blood, Skin
  • Tick
  • Salmonellosis
  • Intestine
  • Food, Water
  • Scrub typhus
  • Blood, Skin
  • Mite
  • Serratia marcescens
  • Lungs
  • Air
  • Shigellosis
  • Intestine
  • Food, Water
  • Staphylococcal food poisoning
  • Intestine
  • Food, Water
  • Staphylococcal infection
  • Skin
  • Contact
  • Syphilis
  • Skin, Cardiovascular Organs
  • Sexual
  • Tetanus
  • Nerves at synapse
  • Soil
  • Tick-borne diseases
  • Blood, Skin
  • Tick
  • Trachoma
  • Eyes
  • Contact
  • Ureaplasma urethritis
  • Urethra, Fallopian tubes, Epididymis
  • Sexual
  • Vaginitis
  • Vagina
  • Sexual

One of the high points of modern medicine has been the fight against bacterial infection. A vital and powerful tool to emerge in the fight against bacterial infection, which has saved the lives of millions of people across the world, was the development of antibiotics in the 1940s. Due to its potency, antibiotics were widely used and unfortunately sometimes misused. As a result, antibiotic-resistant sulains of bacteria began to emerge that are threatening the general health and welfare of mankind and thus posing a challenge to doctors and researchers.
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Last Updated: January 11, 2012
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