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All About Bacteria

Bacteria exist in every organism on the planet including animals and plant life. It is in soil, water and every habitat on earth.  In the human body, bacteria accounts for more than ten times the amount of cells as human cells. Bacteria are usually described in terms of disease and the death that it has created among plants, animals and humans, but it is also a necessary part of the human body.

There are dangerous bacteria that have been responsible for disease and death during the course of human existence. The bacteria that caused bubonic plague, for instance, caused a fatal infectious disease that is responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Cholera is spread through infectious dangerous bacteria as well. These bacteria are not to be confused with viruses which are also responsible for disease. For instance, the human papilloma virus is the cause of conditions such as genital warts and plantars warts.

Bacteria in the body that are beneficial play an important role in the digestion process. In fact, E. coli is actually found in the intestines and helps with the digestion of foods.

Salmonella is a type of bacterium that is responsible for a great many illnesses around the world. Salmonella is a food borne illness that is caused by the bacteria that is carried by an animal. The bacteria can exist on surfaces, water, soil, meat, eggs and animal feces. The illness that is caused by salmonella infection will cause fever, vomiting and will usually go away on its own without any treatment.  Salmonella typhi was responsible for a great many deaths during the nineteenth century.

Streptococci are another bacterium that has become very common place and the cause of a great many illnesses that are very common.  Rheumatic fever is caused by a streptococcal infection and had largely died out in the mid twentieth century. In the eighties and nineties there was a resurgence of the illness, however. A new strain of streptococci is also responsible for the recent headline grabbing flesh eating disease. Scarlet fever and toxic shock are also caused by streptococci infection.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is also caused by the streptococcus bacteria and is responsible for what is commonly referred to as bacterial pneumonia. The common flu is also caused by another variation of the same bacteria from the same family.

E. coli is a very common type of bacteria that can cause a great deal of illness particularly in children and the elderly. It is also a more serious threat to those who have a compromised immune system because they are fighting off another illness. It can be easily prevented with a few minor precautions when handling food. Care should also be used when drinking water or unprocessed milk products.  Escherichia coli live in the intestinal tract of beef cows and other farm animals. Doctors are able to detect the presence of e. coli by looking at a magnified image of the germ. 

Middle ear infection, or otis media , is another form of bacteria that is very common in children. In fact, it is estimated that nearly two thirds of all children will have at least one episode of otis media during their childhood. For some children, the chronic ear infections require surgery and there may be some hearing loss.

Antibiotics have been used to treat bacterial infections very successfully. There is a growing concern that the use or misuse of antibiotics has led to some particularly difficult strains of bacteria that are not susceptible to the same treatment.  There have been an increasing number of drug resistant strains of bacterial infections in hospitals today because of the misuse or inappropriate use of antibiotics over the years.

Today, it has become a struggle for medicine to develop new antibiotics before they become useless in the fight against bacterial illness and disease. There are also new guidelines for health care providers and patients to use when they are treating a bacterial infection with antibiotics so that any new medications do not quickly become as useless as the current selection.

While viruses are not the same thing as bacterial infections, they can still be treated effectively with medications. It is important that you visit the doctor when you are experiencing any of the symptoms of a bacterial infection or a virus such as genital warts.

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