More and more people realize the dangers of legionella, the bacteria that causes the deadly disease of legionaries.
But legionella is not the only bacterium transmitted by water that can be dangerous and that people should know.
Other waterborne pathogens that are now causing concern, especially in health care settings include Pseudomonas, Mycobacteria and Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. In this article, we analyze in more detail Pseudomonas, the infection routes, the symptoms and the treatments.
It is a bacterium that can be found in stagnant waters and soils. It is able to survive in hostile environments, and as a hard bacterial strain can infect both plants and humans.
It is what is often called an opportunistic organism, which means that if someone’s immune system is weakened in some way, it can have serious consequences that endanger life.
The infection can have serious and life-threatening consequences. It represents a real threat to those whose health could be classified as vulnerable.
This includes patients with cancer, people with chronic diseases, victims of burns and premature babies in neonatal units.
The type of disease that causes pseudomonas depends on how it enters the body:
Through lung tissue:
This is often the case in hospitals, where patients contract the disease through the use of respirators, such as patients with cystic fibrosis, and can cause pneumonia .
Through a wound or burning on the skin:
This can cause people to suffer dangerous pseudomonal infections of the urinary tract, bones and blood. This is also the case when the bacteria enters the body through intravenous catheters or needles.
Pseudomonas bacteria can also be present in swimming pools, spas and hot tubs, and can cause skin rashes and otitis externa.
If contact lenses are not properly maintained and kept sterile, the Pseudomonas bacteria can cause serious eye infections.
Typically, the symptoms of Pseudomonas depend on where the infection is located.
In a wound, blue-green pus can be found in and around the wound or burning.
If the infection has caused pneumonia, you may feel that you have a cough and, with swimmers, you may have headaches.
For infections in other parts of the body, fever is common as well as lethargy.
However, what all Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections have in common is the fact that they can make them very sick if they enter the bloodstream and spread in that way ( septicemia ). Serious infections like this can cause shock, confusion, chills and high fever.
How serious is Pseudomonas in our hospitals?
The fact that Pseudomonas is a high priority for hospital infection control departments shows that it has the potential to be a serious problem for hospitals.
There have been several outbreaks in hospitals in the United Kingdom, whose source often dates back to the water that was contaminated in the drains.
With the ability to survive for several days on surfaces, combined with the severity of its symptoms, Pseudomonas aeruginosa continues to be a pressing problem for all healthcare settings, with between 3,700 and 4,000 cases per year reported to the National Health Protection Agency. health.
Rates were highest in the Greater London area, with the majority of cases affecting the elderly and infants less than one year of age.
Treatment against bacteria
Once established in a vulnerable patient, it requires immediate treatment, as it is potentially a very serious problem.
While mortality rates depend on where the infection is located and how soon it has been identified and treated, some studies suggest that up to a third of infected patients may die.
Although the Pseudomonas bacteria appear to have an intrinsic resistance to antibiotics, there are still a number of medications that can attack the bacteria.