Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a blue-green pus like bacteria, that usually domiciliate in marshy land or marine habitats. Most antibiotics cannot fight off this infection, where it is immune to phagocytes present in our body which fight off infections. It multiplies in the most uncommon of places, like sinks, eye drops, soaps, stored distilled water, toilets, hot tubs and more. This bacteria can also infect the heart valves of endovenous drug abusers or even those with artificial heart valves. This infection can lead to a lot of health related problems, sometimes even resulting in death.
- Bone infections
- Disorder/disease which is present at birth but not necessarily hereditary, and is now a problem in adulthood.
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- Cystic fibrosis
- Ruptured membranes over a long period of time.
- Bacteremia (presence of bacteria in the blood stream).
Here are some of the commonly observed symptoms:
- Breathing difficulties
- Feeling feverish
- Eyelids swell up
- Losing weight
- Skin turns a bluish color
- Consciousness is hazy
- Feeling irritable
- Vision clarity decreases
- Pus starts to accumulate in the body
Occurrence of Pseudomonas Infection
The infection can affect different parts of the body; given below are the likely places the infection can spread and multiply.
- The central nervous system can be infected, with the bacterium causing inflamed tissues that cover the brain and the spinal cord. This can be caused by bacteria present in the blood stream or from brain injury/surgery.
- The bacteria can infect bones and joints caused by injury. Infection of the bones/joints also include endovenous drug abusers, bone surgery patients and so on.
- Ear infections can leave room open for these bacteria to infest the external ear canal, that usually clears up without any treatment. It can affect the elderly more than younger adults, leading to problems like hearing loss and even death. Eye infections can be treated by surgical means, although they can cause ulcers in the cornea, that can destroy tissue leading to blindness.
- Those exposed to the bacteria who are perfectly healthy, can also fall prey to its infectious nature. This causes skin infection on contact with the bacteria.
- Those suffering from chronic lung disease, antibiotic therapy or people with congestive heart failure, can also get the infection.
When someone is diagnosed with this infection, there is immediate treatment given to the patient. Antibiotics are supplied which include - aminoglycosides like tobramycin/gentamicin which is combined with penicillin which is pseudomonas - sensitive like ticarcillin and carbenicillin disodium. Another two drugs were added to the list later - anti pseudomonal fluroquinolones and imipenem.
There are more antibiotics used which include amikacin and several penicillins like piperacillin, mezlocillin, and azlocillin which are active against a pseudomona infection. When the infection is localized, the necrotic tissue is debrided (removal of the infected issue) and abscesses are then drained. 1 percent of acetic acid irrigations/topical agents such as polymyxin B or colistin is administered to the patient which is known to be effective. The patient's drug history must be known before giving any of the above drugs, in case of allergies. Make sure a doctor gives you the right dosage, and do not attempt to take these drugs on your own.
The problem with the pseudomonas aeruginosa, is that its ability to resist most antibiotics is a disturbing trait of the bacterium. This is taken care by multi-drug efflux pumps that have chromosomally encoded antibiotic resistance genes where the low permeability of the bacterium is encased. Make sure that you get regular checkups done, especially if you've been out of the hospital recently. A pseudomonas infection can pounce on people in the most unlikely of places, so it's better to regularly go to the doctor and have even the vaguest of symptoms examined.