1.2 Common bacterial pathogens of humans
Most bacteria found in or on the human body are harmless
Activity 2 Common bacterial pathogens and infectious diseases
You might recognise the names of some important pathogenic bacteria shown in Figure 2. Note how different species of bacteria have characteristic shapes: for example, the spherical (coccus)-shaped Streptococci and the rod-shaped Klebsiella.
Can you name the infectious diseases that they cause? Click on reveal to see the answer.
- a.S. pneumoniae is a common cause of pneumonia and ear infections.
- b.Pathogenic strains of E. coli are a common cause of diarrhoeal disease, for example as a result of food poisoning, and of urinary infections.
- c.MRSA is a particular threat in healthcare settings where it can cause sepsis and death if not treated quickly.
- d. M. tuberculosis causes tuberculosis (TB).
- e.K. pneumoniae is a common cause of many healthcare-associated infections including pneumonia, and bloodstream and wound infections.
- f.N. gonorrhoeae causes the sexually transmitted infection gonorrhoea.
Until the mid-twentieth century, bacterial infections were notoriously difficult to treat and were a leading cause of human
The next section introduces these new wonder drugs of the twentieth century – antibiotics.