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Disease Focus: Pseudomonas

Pseudomonas – A Brief

By Nicole Kraatz

Pseudomonas is a variety of infections caused by a bacteria normally found in soil or water throughout the environment. The most common of these infections that affect humans is classified as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This was first discovered by Carle Gessard in 1882 during an experiment using ultra violet lighting.  Pseudomonas may cause a variety of different infections such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections, wound infections, septicemia and gastrointestinal infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is known to be an opportunistic pathogen, meaning it can lead to other serious infections that may eventually require hospitalizations.

Because pseudomonas strains can lead to a variety of different infections, the symptoms and area of infections depend on the illness caused by the specific strain. For example, if the pseudomonas strain causes pneumonia in a patient, symptoms may include a cough, fever or shortness of breath. If the particular infection causes severe illness, symptoms may include high fever, chills, confusion and shock. Many of those that contract an infection from a pseudomonas strain are those that are immunocompromised. It is also possible for people to contract a nosocomial infection from pseudomonas.

Pseudomonas infections can generally be treated with antibiotics. However, it can be difficult at times to find the right antibiotics as the bacteria strains are constantly evolving and becoming resistant to certain medicines. Pseudomonas can be prevented by regular hygiene practices such as hand washing, proper cleaning of hospital equipment as well as environmental cleanup. It is important to isolate patients currently infected with pseudomonas as to prevent future nosocomial infections.

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