opinionBy Dr.joseph Kamugisha
When people visit hospitals and other health care facilities tend to forget that the environment is different from a beach resort or restaurant.
In a hospital environment you catch one of the notorious and infectious germs like the pseudomonas Aeruginosa, staphylococcus Aureus, E.coli and streptococcus germs that are dangerous to our lives.
Diseases acquired from the health care environment are known as nosocomial infections. The most common types of nosocomial infections are surgical wound infections, respiratory infections, genitourinary infections as well as gastrointestinal infections.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa commonly attacks lungs or other respiratory areas to cause respiratory infections. Staphylococcus aureus germ is an aerobic bacterium because it lives in free environment. This germ monitors whatever happens to our skin surface, it attacks wounds and responsible for extensive wound infections.
The E.coli germ is also another common bacterium tend to cause problems to our lives. This germ is infected through various feeding systems. It is responsible for many gastro-intestinal infections such as gastro-enteritis an inflammatory disease of the intestines and colitis an inflammatory disease of the large intestines. It is also responsible for various genitor-urinary tract infections.
It is important to note that nosocomial infections are not just limited to the bacterium. Certain fungi germs such as Candida albicans and aspergillus, as well as viruses such as respiratory Syncytial Virus and influenza virus have been implicated in a number of hospital acquired infections.
The most common and widely spread germ in a health care environment is the staphylococcus aureus. Staphylococcus aureus is a gram positive bacterium that usually appears under the microscope as spherical (coccus) organisms appearing in pairs, short chains and with grape-like clusters.
Staphylococcus aureus has also been implicated as a causative agent in acute food poisoning episodes, toxic shock syndrome. Staphylococcus aureus causes acute episodes of food poisoning via preformed enterotoxins.
Food items likely to be infected by staphylococcal food poisoning include meat and meat products; poultry and egg products; salads such as egg, tuna, chicken, potato, and macaroni; bakery products such as cream-filled pastries, cream pies, and chocolate éclairs; sandwich fillings; and milk and dairy products.
It is the most causative agent in skin diseases like impetigo, scalded skin syndrome, cellulitis, folliculitis and furuncles.
Staphylococcus aureus commonly colonizes many skin surfaces on the naso-pharynx, and perineum; but can cause infection of these surfaces particularly if the skin surface or cutaneous barrier has been disrupted or damaged.
The presence of this germ in our environment makes health care providers strive for good general hygiene otherwise poor hygiene is a health hazard not only to patients but also health care providers. All people are susceptible to infections with Staphylococcus aureus, the disease however, may manifest with varying intensities.
It is also a common cause of systemic infections such as infective endocarditis, osteomyelitis, epiglottitis, and sinus infections amongst others. Staphylococcus aureus commonly causes infective endocarditis in intra-venous infusion drug abusers; osteomyelitis, sinus infections in the general population; and epiglottitis in young children.
Treatment of choice for people found to be infected with this germ is cloxacilline that exisist in form of tablets or liquid. Vancomycin is the drug of choice for people with resistant strains to penicillin drugs.
Another common germ in health set-ups is the pseudomonas aeruginosa. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram negative bacterium that is commonly found in the environment such as soil, water and other moist locations.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen. The bacteria takes advantage of an individual's weakened immune system to create an infection and this organism also produces tissue-damaging toxins.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes urinary tract infections, respiratory system infections, dermatitis, soft tissue infections, bacteremia, bone and joint infections, gastrointestinal infections and a variety of systemic infections particularly in patients with severe burns, cancer patients and AIDS patients who are immunosuppressed.
This germ has an incubation period of 24-72 hours after it has entered the body system. The diagnosis of pseudomonas aeruginosa infection depends upon isolation and laboratory identification of the bacterium. It grows well on most laboratory media and commonly is isolated on blood agar or eosin-methylthionine blue agar. Fluorescence under ultraviolet light is helpful in early identification of P. aeruginosa colonies and may also help identify its presence in wounds.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is frequently resistant to many commonly used antibiotics. Although many strains are susceptible to gentamicin, tobramycin, colistin, and amikacin, resistant forms have developed.
The combination of gentamicin and carbenicillin is frequently used to treat severe Pseudomonas infections. Several types of vaccines are being tested, but none is currently available for general use.