Pseudomonas aeruginosa is becoming a major cause of healthcare-associated gram-negative infections and increasingly resistant to more antibiotics.
It is the most common pathogen, opportunistic and difficult to eradicate. Pseudomonas infections are complicated and can be very dangerous.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is a typical healthcare-related infection, among the most common and difficult to eradicate. For this reason, we at AMIL Care consider it useful to discuss the characteristics of this insidious bacterium with our readers, to help prevent hospital infections through proper hospital sanitation.
Let’s start by saying that it is a Gram-negative bacterium, an opportunistic pathogen resistant to multiple antibiotics, which mainly affects people with compromised immune defenses or physical barriers, especially patients who have been hospitalized for more than a week. Any of the different types of Gram-negative bacteria of the Pseudomonas genus can actually cause a series of infections in different parts of the body, especially in risky situations.
One wonders: how can Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections be prevented? The prevention of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections depends on many factors, among which sterilization of instruments and disinfection of non-critical objects and environmental surfaces with targeted substances are crucial.
What type of bacterium is Pseudomonas aeruginosa?
What is Pseudomonas aeruginosa?
For the sake of clarity, it is certainly useful to know that bacteria can be classified in different ways. One important differentiation is the one between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, to which Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the subject of this article, belongs. Here we will take a look at what it is.
Gram-negative bacteria are those bacteria that take on the red color following the application of a chemical process called Gram staining. Gram-positive bacteria, on the other hand, tend to turn blue.
The different coloring is caused by numerous factors, including the presence, in the bacteria themselves, of particular cell walls. Knowing the type of bacteria is therefore essential because, depending on the Gram test result, different infections will occur, and different antibiotics will have to be used.
The Gram-negative bacteria are wrapped in a protective capsule, which helps to prevent the white blood cells that are used to clear the infection from ingesting the bacteria. Under the capsule, these bacteria have an outer membrane that protects them from a variety of antibiotics, such as penicillin. Not only that: if altered, the membrane can release endotoxins, toxic substances that can worsen symptoms during Gram-negative bacterial infections.
A large number of bacterial infections fall into this category, such as, for example, pneumonia, peritonitis, brucellosis, Campylobacter infections, cholera, Escherichia coli infections, whooping cough, salmonella, typhoid fever, shigellosis, tularemia and, of course, Pseudomonas infections.
Unfortunately, Gram-negative bacteria are increasing their antibiotic resistance: they are therefore more resistant to the action of antibiotics. This may depend on the mutation of the genes that form the bacteria: in some cases, a bacterium can “take” the antibiotic-resistance gene from other bacteria and make it its own.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium
Bacteria of the genus Pseudomonas, including therefore the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium, are present in soil and water everywhere in the world.
They are bacteria that prefer wet areas, such as toilets and bathroom fixtures in general, sinks, whirlpool tubs, swimming pools that are not properly disinfected, but they can also be present in deactivated or expired antiseptic solutions. They can also be found, albeit occasionally, in the armpits and genital areas of healthy people.
Cosmetically, a Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium looks like a small bacillus measuring 0.5 – 1.0 µm by 1.5 – 5 µm. It also has one to three unipolar flagella, which naturally allow it to move. Furthermore, it is a spore-forming bacterium: this means that, in conditions of poor nutrition and an unfavorable environment, it is capable of producing spores, i.e., a particular cell characterized by a coating which makes it resistant even to large temperature variations or disinfectants.
What is Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection, and how do you get it?
As mentioned, Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is one of the most common healthcare-related infections: this means that, in most cases, it is contracted in hospitals or similar structures. Therefore, the importance of disinfecting healthcare environments becomes an urgent question, above all because Pseudomonas aeruginosa mainly affects people with compromised immune defenses or physical barriers – such as skin or mucous membranes.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections range from minor external infections to serious and life-threatening illnesses. Infections occur more frequently and tend to be more severe in many people, such as those who are debilitated by certain serious illnesses; those suffering from diabetes or cystic fibrosis; those suffering from diseases that weaken the immune system, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection; those taking drugs that suppress the immune system.
The danger of these bacteria also derives from the fact that they can infect the entire human organism: epithelial system, skeletal system, ears, eyes, urinary tract, lungs, heart valves, as well as wounds (such as burns, injuries, or wounds from surgical).
The use of medical devices, such as mechanical ventilators, intubation tubes and catheters inserted into the bladder or vein, increases the risk of infections with this bacterium. Infection occurs in three distinct phases:
- the attack of the pathogen and the consequent colonization of the organism;
- local infection of the now infected organism;
- passage of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacterium in the blood, and subsequent systemic disease.
Symptoms due to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection
The symptoms that are associated with a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection vary depending on which organ is affected.
Among the symptoms, we find: fever, dehydration, cyanosis, hemorrhagic and necrotic lesions, abdominal discomfort, cellulitis, fasciitis, heart murmur, difficulty in movement, conjunctival erythema, purulent ocular secretions.
These infections can also lead to a whole series of problems, such as the onset of respiratory problems (pneumonia, for example), a high or inadequate presence of bacteria in the blood, endocarditis, a series of central nervous system problems (meningitis or brain abscess), ear problems (ear infections), eye problems (such as endophthalmitis or bacterial keratitis), bone and joint problems (such as osteomyelitis), gastrointestinal problems (such as diarrhea, enteritis, or enterocolitis), urinary tract, dermatological problems (e.g., gangrenous ecthyma).
How to treat Pseudomonas aeruginosa?
Precisely because the Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is particularly aggressive and, in some cases, fatal, it is advisable to pay close attention and rely on your specialist.
Generally, Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections should be treated with antimicrobial drugs, in particular antibiotics, which must be carefully chosen considering the fact that the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance is increasingly widespread.
In complicated cases, a combination therapy based on two separate drugs, for example a beta-lactam and an aminoglycoside, may be necessary.
Furthermore, in the case of superficial eye infections, topical therapy, i.e., concentrated on the site of the infection, may be sufficient, while regarding the presence of gastrointestinal infections, it can be envisaged to combine treatment with antibiotics with adequate hydration.
In some cases, perhaps to remove necrotic tissue or to drain any abscesses, surgery may be necessary. Amputations may be necessary only in very serious cases.
The importance of serious and careful sanitization in hospital environments in the fight against Pseudomonas aeruginosa
As we said in the article, Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is more easily contracted in hospitals and similar structures. AMIL Care specializes in the disinfection and sanitization of these environments: using effective products and machinery is therefore essential in order to drastically reduce Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections, one of the most difficult bacteria to eliminate.
In this case, Medisystem is the combination of a series of devices and products that work together to obtain the best result for the sanitization of clinical and industrial environments.
The basic device is an easy-to-use portable micro nebulizer, available in different configurations.
The Medibios Plus and Medibios Plus.hub devices in particular have advanced features suitable for the hospital sector.
Please do not hesitate to contact us for more information and to start collaborating in the fight against Pseudomonas aeruginosa hospital infections.