Bacterial Diseases In Human – Causes & Symptoms
Did you know that it wasn’t until around 200 years ago that people knew what caused Bacterial Diseases ? Before that, they believed that one cause was ‘bad air’, and so they carried around bunches of sweet-smelling flowers to sweeten the scent of the air and prevent disease.
Thanks to the invention of the microscope, and the experiments carried out by scientists, we now know that infectious diseases are caused by pathogens such as viruses and bacteria.
In this article we’re going to look at how bacteria can cause disease in humans.
What Is Bacteria ?
Bacteria are single celled organisms. They cause disease by entering the body, multiplying and releasing toxins that damage cells.
There are a number of diseases in humans that are caused by bacteria – let’s take a closer look at a few.
Salmonella Infectious Disease
First off we have salmonella, a type of food poisoning caused by salmonella bacteria, which causes fever, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea due to the toxins the bacteria release.
This is one of the scary Bacterial Diseases!
Catching salmonella can be avoided by practicing good kitchen hygiene.
Chicken should be cooked all the way through to kill any salmonella bacteria that are lurking in the meat.
Also, it is important to keep raw meat and foods that are to be eaten raw, like salads, separate and to wash your hands after handling raw meat.
Gonorrhea Infectious Disease
Another Bacterial Diseases is gonorrhea. This is a sexually transmitted disease, or STD for short.
It is passed from person to person by sexual contact. The early symptoms include a thick yellow or green discharge from the vagina or penis, and pain on urination.
The symptoms become less obvious in the later stages of the illness so it can go undetected. Unfortunately, untreated gonorrhea can cause long-term pelvic pain and infertility.
This is why it is very important to get checked by a doctor as soon as a person gets symptoms so it can be treated with a course of antibiotics.
It’s spread is reduced by using a barrier method of contraception, such as condoms.
Tuberculosis (TB) Infectious Disease
Tuberculosis, or TB for short, is a bacterial infection that mainly affects the lungs.
It is spread by breathing in tiny droplets from coughs or sneezes of an infected person or animal.
Symptoms of TB include a persistent cough, which may bring up blood, fever, tiredness and swellings in the neck.
TB is a serious condition, but it can be cured if it’s treated with the right antibiotics.
The number of cases of TB in many countries has been reduced by the use of vaccination.
Stomach Ulcers Infectious Disease
Another bacteria causing illness are stomach ulcers. A burning pain in the stomach could be a sign of a stomach ulcer.
These are an open sore on the stomach lining. It used to be thought that stomach ulcers were caused by the stomach producing too much acid, brought on by eating spicy food or stress but we now know that in fact they can be caused by an infection with Helicobacter pylori bacteria.
This discovery was made in 2005 by two researchers.
To provide evidence, one of the scientists infected himself with the bacteria to prove that it caused stomach ulcers – now that is dedication to their work!
So those are a few examples of Bacterial Diseases affecting human beings !
But don’t be fooled into thinking all bacteria are bad – in fact lots of bacteria are important to our survival. We have billions inside our digestive system, that help us break down different foods.
A wide range of organisms belonging to bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoans, helminths, etc., could cause diseases in man. Such disease causing organisms are called pathogens.
Salmonella typhi is a pathogenic bacterium which causes typhoid fever in human beings.
These pathogens generally enter the small intestine through food and water contaminated with them and migrate to other organs through blood.
Sustained high fever (39° to 40°C), weakness, stomach pain, constipation, headache and loss of appetite are some of the common symptoms of this disease.
Intestinal perforation and death may occur in severe cases. Typhoid fever could be confirmed by Widal test.
A classic case in medicine, that of Mary Mallon nicknamed Typhoid Mary, is worth mentioning here. She was a cook by profession and was a typhoid carrier who continued to spread typhoid for several years through the food she prepared.