Why is Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Dangerous?

Why is pseudomonas dangerous?In this short article our water quality and pathogen control experts take a look at the bacterium called pseudomonas aeruginosa and consider the question, why is pseudomonas dangerous?

We are all surrounded by bacteria every day of our lives. While we can resist much of it, fighting it off with our body’s in-built natural defences, this is not always the case. Bacteria are also constantly changing and adapting to their environments. Moreover, some forms of bacteria pose a greater danger than others. Pseudomonas should be included in this group.

Pseudomonas can be dangerous to people with weakened immune systems

While pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria are of little concern to those who are healthy and strong, they can be deadly for those whose health is not as robust. Indeed, this is one of the reasons why it can cause serious infections among people who are ill and being treated in hospital. Those with weakened immune systems, or health conditions that make them more prone to illness, will be at risk of being affected more seriously should they encounter the bacterium.

Pseudomonas infections and the need for immediate treatment

It surprises many to learn that pseudomonas aeruginosa can potentially kill patients in hospitals within 24 hours of those individuals being infected. This does not always happen, of course, but even when the person survives, they can be gravely ill and require extensive treatment to recover.

Many infections that are acquired in hospitals are caused by this one bacterium. It causes problems in the respiratory system, and for those who may already be poorly at the time of being exposed to the bacteria, this can often be too much. Infections can trigger cases of pneumonia and septicaemia.

This is also why patients suffering from cystic fibrosis – a condition affecting the lungs and respiratory system – are at greater risk from exposure to the pseudomonas bacteria.

The growing problems caused by antibiotic resistance

In many instances, bacterial infections are successfully treated with antibiotics – they are our strongest line of defence against bacterial infections. However, pseudomonas aeruginosa is crafty. Over time it has developed a resistance to antibiotics, which means this essential line of defence is, in many cases removed from the arsenal of drugs used to treat such infections. Pseudomonas also comes in many varieties, not just in the aeruginosa form. This means that while one strain finds it more difficult to spread from person to person, others will do so with ease and at a frighteningly-quick pace, too.

Good personal and environmental hygiene, and cleaning and disinfection procedures are vital in hospitals, healthcare facilities and elsewhere if we are to prevent the spread of pseudomonas and other nasty bugs. However, it is also vital that further research develops new antibiotics we can use to tackle this and other bacteria. If this doesn’t happen, the world we live in could become a very different place because of pseudomonas, and not too far from now, either.

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To find out more about our specialist risk management services including water safety risk assessments, HTM 04-01 training courses, UKAS water testing, and other risk management support services please contact our pathogen control experts on 0161 877 0586 (Manchester) or 0203 637 47 48 (London).

Further reading

For additional information about pseudomonas aeruginosa … here

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