All harmful bacteria have names
What bacterial diseases are there?
Streptococcus pneumoniae - the so-called "pneumococci" - are usually found in the nose and throat of many people without causing any disease. The risk of infection from the elderly, children or other vulnerable people, in whom pneumococci can cause dangerous inflammation, therefore emanates from the entire population. In Switzerland, pneumococci cause around a thousand serious infections (in the blood or in the meninges) and several thousand pneumonia every year. Pneumococci also trigger numerous inflammations that heal on their own, such as certain middle ear infections or some cases of bronchitis.
Staphylococcus aureus belongs to the microbial skin flora of about a third of the population and does not cause any disease in these people. However, depending on the bacterial strain and the state of the immune system, this germ can cause skin and bone inflammation and affect soft tissues and even the blood. In hospitals, Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of infections in surgical wounds. In animal breeding, the germ can cause various types of inflammation, especially on the udders of dairy cows.
Escherichia coli is an enterobacteria and is one of the harmless intestinal inhabitants in humans and animals and does not cause any diseases. In fact, they are useful and helpful. However, this species can cause inflammation if it penetrates other parts of the body (infections of the urinary tract and inside the abdomen and meningitis in newborns). Some pathogenic strains of Escherichia coli (for example, the O157: H7 strain which produces a toxin) are transmitted between animals, food and humans, causing fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea. In rare cases, such infections even lead to death.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is another enterobacteria that is found in the digestive tract of humans and animals. But it is also one of the most common causes of hospital infections, as well as inflammation of the urinary tract and respiratory tract, especially in severe pneumonia. In newborns, Klebsiella pneumoniae can cause blood poisoning, which is associated with increased mortality. This type of bacteria is also characterized by its ability to quickly develop multiple resistances to antibiotics.
You can also add to this list Acinetobacter baumannii and Pseudomonas aeruginosa add two types of bacteria that are so-called hospital germs because they cause infections especially in hospitals and nursing homes. Both types of bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to antibiotics, both nationally and internationally, which are used as a last resort in the fight against resistant germs (carbapenems and polymyxins).
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