All About Viruses and Bacteria

Sicknesses Caused by Bacteria

   Bacteria don't always cause sickness, but some of them do. Although they can be cures through antibiotics, they are just as dangerous as viral infections. Each different shape of bacteria causes different types of sicknesses, here are some of them.

   Cocci - Rounded Viruses 

Pneumococcus - A common sickness caused by bacteria. It attacks different parts of the body. If it attacks the lungs it can cause over 90 types of pneumonia. It has a sudden onset and symptoms may include chills, high fever, cough, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pains, nausea, vomiting, headaches, tiredness, and muscle weakness. People who are most likely to get pneumococcus are the elderly 65 years or older and people with pre existing medical conditions that cause a weakened immune system. It can cause over 6,000 deaths annually. It is normally treated with penicillin, but some cases are resistant to it. Alternate treatment and longer hospitalization is then required. There is a vaccine for this sickness. There are actually two, one for children and one for adults. The vaccines have been tested and approved as safe, yet only 65% of the people have actually gotten it.

Streptococcus - Streptococcus is a bacterium that causes different sicknesses, the most common of them being strep throat. Streptococcus is actually sorted into different groups, each of which causes slightly different sicknesses each with its own severity. Strep throat is part of group A. the symptoms of strep throat and streptococcus include difficulty swallowing, sudden fever, general discomfort, uneasiness, ill feeling, loss of appetite, nausea, rash, red throat, sore throat, tender or swollen lymph nodes abnormal taste, headache, joint stiffness, muscle pain, nasal congestion, nasal discharge, and neck pain. Strep throat will usually heal on its own, but penicillin or amoxicillin will be prescribed to prevent from other serious symptoms from developing. Caution should be used when prescribing any antibiotics, because if it is not strep but just a sore throat caused by a virus, then the virus will use the antibiotics to spread even more. It is most common in children ages 5 to 15 but can happen in younger children or adults. Children under the age of 3 will be affected differently than older children. The strep throat that infects younger children actually does not affect the throat. It is most common in the late fall, winter, and early spring. It takes 2 to 5 days after being initially exposed to become sick. The sickness can vary in severity from very mild to severe. A simple throat swab can be taken to test for strep. If positive and treated the symptoms usually go away in a week and antibiotics prevent any furthering o the bacteria growth. There is no vaccine for strep, but if antibiotics are taken for 1 to 2 days it should no longer be contagious and it is safe to return to school, work, or daycare.

Staphylococcus - Staphylococcus, also known as streph infections, is a common infection among people. It causes something as simple as a boil to an antibiotic resistant flesh eating infection. Straph infection usually starts with a cut somewhere on your body. That cut then gets infected with staphylococcus bacteria. It then becomes infected with straph infection. Most people actually carry staphylococcus bacteria in their nose, mouth, and genitals. The sickness is most commonly found in your feet. When you walk your feet pick up bacteria. If you have an open cut in your foot in can easily be infected. Symptoms of streph infection are tenderness, swelling, redness, inflammation, warmth, and pain. If left untouched the infection could worsen and cause fevers, chills, and sweats. Antibiotics are used to treat this infection, but recently strains of streph infection have been becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics. 50% of streph infections are resistant to strong antibiotics. If the infection does as deep as the muscles, it needs to be surgically cleaned. There is no vaccine, so the best way to prevent this is to take care of open cuts immediately. Wash them with soap and water, put on antiseptic ointment and keep it covered. It is only spread when the boil from the wound starts to drain or leak.

Scarlet Fever - Scarlet fever is an infection caused by Streptococcus bacteria, the same bacteria that cause strep throat. Unlike a sore throat scarlet fever can cause rashes over on the body. Once exposed to the bacteria it takes 1 to 2 days to become sick. It starts with a rash on the neck or chest and quickly spreads over the entire body. It has a defining characteristic of a sandpaper texture. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bright red color in the creases of the infected persons underarms and groin, chills, fever, general discomfort, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, red, swollen, or strawberry tongue, and vomiting. An antibiotic can be used to treat the bacteria that cause the throat infection. It is import to treat or other severs complications like rheumatic fever may occur. It was once a very serious childhood illness, but is now easily treatable. Simple antibiotics can get ride of the symptoms, but the rash usually lasts 2 to 3 weeks more before fully fading. It is spread through the air by the breathing of the infected, or by direct contact. It is important to treat immediately or other serious complications may occur.

Rheumatic fever - It is an inflammatory disease that can develop after being infected with Streptococcus. It can cause damage to the heart, joints, skin, and brain. Symptoms of rheumatic fever are abdominal pain, fever, heart problems, shortness of breath, chest pain, joint pain in knees, elbows, ankles, and wrists, joint swelling, redness or warmth, nosebleeds, skin nodules, skin rash lower and upper part of the arms or legs, emotional instability, muscle weakness, and quick, uncoordinated jerky movements. Treatment for rheumatic fever would be anti biotic to cure the fever and anti inflammatory to reduce the inflammation. Antibiotics will also be prescribed to prevent the streph throat, the cause rheumatic fever, from reoccurring. It affects mostly children 6 to 15 and strikes 20 days after the child has streph throat. If low dose antibiotics are not take for the first 3 to 5 years after the disease first strikes the infected person runs a high risk of the disease returning. There is no vaccine for this disease, so the best way to prevent it is to get quick treatment of streph throat or scarlet fever.

   Bacilli - Rod Viruses

Tuberculosis - Tuberculosis, also known as TB, is a contagious bacterial infection that affects mostly the lungs, but spreads to other organs. It causes lung problems and eventually lung damage. Symptoms are not present, but if they do appear they would be cough that may produce phlegm, coughing up blood, excessive sweating, especially at night, fatigue, fever, unintentional weight loss, breathing difficulty, chest pain, and wheezing. The main goal of treating tuberculosis is to kill the bacteria that cause it. The treatment includes usually four different medications, which are all tested to see which works best. If medication is not taken on a regular basis the infection becomes much harder or even impossible to treat. Recovery usually takes 6 months, but for people with AIDS or a slow recover rate may take even longer. If contagious the infected person will be confined to a hospital until they are no longer contagious. You can get tuberculosis by breathing in a cough or sneeze of an infected person. The TB bacteria may lay dormant in your system, only to active or reactive years later. Many people who become sick with tuberculosis were infected even years ago, although the symptoms can begin just weeks after exposure. The elderly, infants, or people with weakened immune systems are the ones who are most likely to develop this disease. You will be even more likely to become infected if you are in close contact with an infected person, live in a crowded or unclean place, or have poor nutrition. In the U.S. there is about 1 out of every 10,000 people get sick per year, but rates of infection vary by location and social class. If caught and treated early, symptoms will reside in 2 to 3 weeks. There is a vaccine for TB, but its effects are controversial, and it is not widely used in the U.S. Beside vaccine early aggression toward the disease is the best way to fight it.

E. coli - E. coli is a common bacteria that is present in the intestines of humans and animals. E. coli bacteria are harmless for all but one strain. That strain is called E. coli O157:H7 and it contains a strong poison, that if ingested will cause you to become very sick. 73,000 people in 1999 came down with the sickness, but only 60 died. E. coli occasionally mixed in with foods like ground beef before they are packaged. The meat will look, smell, and taste normal, that is why you must be carful when there is an E. coli outbreak in food. E. coli can also be on cows utters, and may be in unpasteurized milk. Raw vegetables or fruit that are exposed to E. coli can also spread it. It can get into water that has sewage or waste in it. If infected with E. coli bacteria. Toddlers can carry the sickness form E. coli O157:H7 may not have symptoms, but older children and adults usually will. Toddlers who are not potty trained and the adults that change the toddler’s diapers can spread the E. coli to other people. The E. coli can be carried through your stools. That is why it is important to wash your hands after going to the bathroom, especially if you are preparing food. Symptoms of the E. coli O157:H7 infections are usually bloody diarrhea or stomach pains. Fevers are not common with this sickness and if someone does have one because of E. coli O157:H7 it is usually very low. If left untreated, it could cause permanent damage to red blood cells and your kidneys. Some medicines can treat E. coli, but some may not. Your doctor can prescribe the best treatment. It usually lasts 5 to 10 days, but 1 out of every 3 people have kidney problems after they are cured. In extremely rare cases, the E. coli can cause high blood pressure, blindness, or even paralysis. There is no vaccine for E. coli, but if the bacteria is kept out of food in the first place, your chances of infection are much similar.

Tetanus - Tetanus is an infection of the nervous system caused by Clostridium tetani bacteria, also know as C, tetani. It causes muscle spasms starting in the jaw and spreading to the chest, neck, back, and abdominal muscles. Symptoms include drooling, excessive sweating, fever, hand or foot spasms, irritability, wallowing difficulty, and uncontrolled urination or defecation. Treatment may include anti toxins, antibiotics, bed rest, and surgery to clean infected areas. It is caused by spores found in dirt. The spores can stay dormant in the soil for up to 40 years. The spores come in contact with an open cut or wound and spread bacteria into the body. The bacteria release a toxin called tetanospasmin. The poison blocks signals from the spinal cord and causes muscle spasms. After being exposed to the spores, it takes 7 to 10 days for symptoms to appear. There is a vaccination for tetanus. It is given at the age of six or up, and after that a booster is given every 10 years. Unlike common beliefs, tetanus does not come from rust on metal objects. It is found in dirt that may be on the rusted object. The best way to prevent getting tetanus is to properly clean wounds and keep them covered so they do not come in contact with dirt that may contain the virus.

Diphtheria - Diphtheria is an acute infectious disease that is caused by the bacteria Corynebacterium diphtheriae. The bacteria spread a toxin into the blood stream that can affect your entire body. It usually infects the throat, mouth, or skin first. If it infects the skin it can cause lesions, if it starts in the throat or mouth, it causes a grey or black thick fibrous material to form in the throat or mouth and may constrict your airways and prevent you from breathing. After coming in contact with the bacteria it take 2 to 5 days for symptoms to occur. Symptoms include bluish coloration of the skin, bloody or watery drainage from nose, breathing problems, difficulty or rapid breathing, chills, croup-like or barking cough, drooling, fever, hoarseness, painful swallowing, skin lesions, and mild to severe sore throat. There may be no symptoms even if infected. If you think you have Diphtheria you should immediately go to your doctor and get tests done. Diphtheria is dangerous and treatment may be started before test results even come back. To treat a shot is give directly into your muscle or through an IV of anti toxin to stop the diphtherias poison. Antibiotics are also given to the infected person. Diphtheria can vary form mild to severe and recover is slow. Disease can slowly worsen, and death rate is 10%. A vaccine can be given to protect against Diphtheria. It is given to children and a booster is required every 10 years. It is spread through a cough or sneeze by an infected person. Luckily there are less than 5 cases a year in the U.S.

   Spirilla - Spiral Bacteria

Syphilis - Syphilis is an infection caused by Treponema palladium. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease. Syphilis comes in three stages. Symptoms vary with each stage. In stage one many people do not have symptoms, but if there are any they would be painless sores and swollen lymph nodes. The sores develop at the site of infection 2 to 3 weeks after a person is initially infected. Some people may not notice the sores; especially in they are on the inside of your body. The sores will disappear after 4 to 6 weeks with or without treatment. In stage two symptoms include fever, fatigue, rash, aches and pains, and loss of appetite. Stage two occurs 2 to 8 weeks after stage one. 33% of people who are not treated for the first stage will develop this second stage. The symptoms of stage two will like before go away with or without treatment and the bacteria will again become dormant. In stage three the syphilis can cause heart, brain, skin, bone, and nervous system problems which eventually lead to death. The treatment for syphilis is antibiotics like penicillin. If treated during the first stage, you may develop a reaction called the Jarish-Herxheimer reaction, which causes chills, fever, feeling of ill or discomfort, joint aches, muscle aches, headache, nausea, and rash. The reaction usually disappears within a day though. Blood test will be taken after 3, 6, 12, and 24 months after treatment because remnants of the illness may still be present. Avoid any sexual contact during the first and second stages of the disease. It is very contagious during these times. In enters the body through open skin and infects it. Pregnant women who have Syphilis can pass it onto the developing baby in the womb. If the baby is infected the infection is no longer called Syphilis is no longer called Syphilis, but is now called congenital syphilis. Syphilis is wide spread in the U.S. and infects adults age 20 to 29. With early aggression toward the disease and follow up treatment, you can be cured, but untreated third stage syphilis can lead to health problems or death. The best way to prevent syphilis is to practice safe sex and if you may have syphilis cease all sexual activity and see your doctor to prevent it form spreading.