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Bacterial Infections in the Blood: Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

written by: CamillaPeters • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 8/1/2010

Bacteria are tiny living organisms that can either be helpful or harmful to the body. According to Kids Health, there are billions of bacteria on the body and inside the body at all times.

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    The Mayo Clinic states that if you line up a thousand bacteria, they would only fit across a pencil eraser. There are three different shapes to bacteria and they are rod, spiral, and spheres. There is a big difference between bacterial infections and viral infections. A bacterial infection can be treated with antibiotics and a virus does not respond to antibiotics.

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    Streptococcus

    There are many different illnesses that can be caused by the streptococcus bacteria. These include pharyngitis, impetigo, scarlet fever, erysipelas, and cellulitis. There are some serious infections that can occur such as necrotizing fasciitis, myositis, and streptococcal toxic shock. Streptococcus bacteria respond easily to antibiotics, making any condition caused by streptococcus bacteria rather easy to treat.

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    Staphylococcus

    Many illnesses can be caused by staphylococcus bacteria including skin infections, pneumonia, food poisoning, toxic shock syndrome, and bacteremia (blood poisoning). Staphylococcus bacteria are found on the skin or in the nose of most people. Staph is extremely hard to kill, which is why it causes so many instances of food-borne illness. A weak immune system will make it easier to develop a staph infection. Staph infections are hard to kill with antibiotics so stronger, more toxic forms have to be used. Even then some staph infections are resistant to these antibiotics. The best ways to prevent a staph infection are by washing the hands and body often and by not sharing personal products.

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    Escherichia Coli

    E coli, also known as Escherichia coli, are bacteria that cause severe abdominal cramps and diarrhea. According to Family Doctor, E. coli is the number one cause of bloody diarrhea. It is possible to contract E. coli by consuming undercooked beef, raw milk, contaminated water, and by handling cattle. The bacteria live in cattle intestines, and when a cow is slaughtered, the bacteria can contaminate the rest of the meat. The first symptoms of E. coli do not manifest until 7 days after initial contamination. The first symptom is severe stomach cramps and diarrhea. After the first day of diarrhea, the stool becomes bright red with blood. This is because the bacteria cause sores that rupture inside the intestines. It is necessary to visit the doctor if E. coli is suspected, because it can be deadly.

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    Salmonella

    There are many different kinds of Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella poisoning is a cause of many diarrheal illnesses around the world. When a person becomes infected with the Salmonella bacteria, it is called salmonellosis. These people develop fever, diarrhea, and severe stomach cramps. According to MedlinePlus, Salmonella is the most common cause of food-borne illness. Most people who develop illness due to salmonella contamination will become better without treatment within 4 to 7 days.

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    REFERENCES:

    The Mayo Clinic: Infectious Diseases- http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/germs/id00002

    Kids Health: Bacteria - http://kidshealth.org/kid/word/b/word_bacteria.html

    Medline Plus: Salmonella Infections - http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/salmonellainfections.html


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