What are pseudomonas infections?
infections are diseases caused by a bacterium from the genus Pseudomonas. The bacteria are found
widely in the environment, such as in soil, water, and plants. They usually do
not cause infections in healthy people. If an infection does occur in a healthy
person, it is generally mild.
infections occur in people who are already hospitalized with another illness or
condition, or people who have a weak immune system. Pseudomonades are fairly
common pathogens involved in
infections acquired in a hospital setting. A pathogen is a microorganism that
causes disease. Infections acquired in a hospital are called nosocomial
can occur in any part of the body. Symptoms depend on which part of the body is
infected. Antibiotics are used to treat the infections. Pseudomonas infection
could be fatal in people who are already very ill.
What are the symptoms of pseudomonas infections?
in the skin tend to be less severe than infections that occur in the blood or
lungs. Specific symptoms depend on where the infection occurs:
infection of the blood is called bacteremia. A
blood infection is one of the most severe infections caused by pseudomonas. Symptoms
and joint pain
Bacteremia with pseudomonas can also cause very low blood
pressure, known as hemodynamic shock, which can lead to failure of other organs
including the heart, kidneys, and liver.
the lungs is called pneumonia. Symptoms include:
with or without sputum production
bacterium infects the skin, it most often affects the hair follicles. This is
called folliculitis. Symptoms may include:
of the skin
formation in the skin
ear canal infection may sometimes be caused by pseudomonas and result in
“swimmer’s ear.” Symptoms may include:
inside the ear
from the ear
an eye infection may include:
Pseudomonas infections can be very aggressive, particularly infections
in the lungs or skin.
What causes pseudomonas infections?
infections are caused by a free-living bacterium from the genus Pseudomonas. They favor moist areas and
are widely found in soil and water. Only a few of the many species cause
disease. The most common species
that causes infection is called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Who is at risk for pseudomonas infections?
people are usually at low risk of infection. People who already have a weakened
immune system because of another illness or condition are at a higher risk of
infection. This is especially true for people who are hospitalized for an
extended period of time.
be spread in hospitals via the hands of healthcare workers, or by hospital
equipment that is not properly cleaned.
Pseudomonas infections are considered opportunistic
infections. This means that the organism only causes disease
when a person’s immune system is already impaired.
that may increase the risk of infection include:
chemotherapy for cancer
of a foreign body, like a mechanical ventilator or catheter
an invasive procedure, like a surgery
can be severe in people whose immune systems are already compromised.
illnesses like skin rashes and ear infections have been reported in healthy
individuals. The infection might occur after exposure to hot tubs and swimming
pools that are inadequately chlorinated. This is sometimes called “hot tub
rash.” Eye infections can occur in people who wear contacts if they use
infected contact lens solution.
can infect any part of the body including the liver, brain, bones, and sinuses. Infection of these sites and those not
mentioned, however, is much less common than the infections listed above.
How are pseudomonas infections diagnosed?
will perform a physical examination and ask you about your medical history and
recent symptoms. They may take a sample of pus, blood, or tissue, and send it
to a laboratory. The laboratory will then test the sample for the presence of pseudomonas.
How are pseudomonas infections treated?
are treated with antibiotics. Unfortunately, many pseudomonas infections are
becoming more difficult to treat. These bacteria have developed the ability to
adapt and overcome antibiotics in their environment. This is called antibiotic
in antibiotic resistance has made treating infections much more challenging. Pseudomonas
infections can often develop
resistance to multiple types of antibiotics. It can even sometimes develop
resistance during the course of treatment.
important that your doctor selects an effective antibiotic. A doctor may send a
specimen from a patient to a laboratory first for testing in order to be more
certain. The laboratory will test the specimen to determine which antibiotic
will work best.
may involve one or more of the following types of antibiotics:
What is the outlook?
infections and skin infections from swimming pools and hot tubs are typically
infections can be fatal if not treated right away. Call your doctor if you have
any new symptoms you are concerned about. Prompt treatment with the correct
antibiotic will speed up your recovery time.
How can pseudomonas infections be prevented?
washing hands and cleaning equipment in hospitals can help prevent infection.
Outside a hospital, avoiding hot tubs and swimming pools that are poorly cared
for can help prevent infections. You should remove swimming garments and shower
with soap after getting out of the water. Drying your ears after swimming can
also help prevent swimmer’s ear.
several things you can do to prevent infection if you are recovering from a
procedure or receiving a treatment in a hospital:
- Tell your nurse if any of your
dressings become loose or look wet.
- Tell your nurse if you think any
tubes of IV lines have come loose.
- Make sure you fully understand the
treatment or procedure your doctor has requested for you.
If you have
diabetes, make sure you discuss controlling your blood sugar with your doctor
before your procedure.