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Pathogens of Humans

Bacillus anthracis (Buh-sil-us an-thray-sis). An aerobic, spore-forming, Gram-positive bacillus; the causative agent of anthrax in humans, cattle, swine, sheep, rabbits, guinea pigs, and mice; causes a cutaneous, respiratory, or gastrointestinal disease, depending on the portal of entry. Bacteroides (Bak-ter-oy-dez) species. Anaerobic, Gram-negative bacilli; common members of the indigenous microflora of the oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina; opportunistic pathogens that cause a variety of infections, including appendicitis, peritonitis, abscesses, and postsurgical wound infections. Bordetella pertussis (Bor-duh-tel-uh per-tus-sis). A fastidious, Gram-negative coccobacillus; the causative agent of whooping cough, which is also called pertussis. Borrelia burgdorferi (Boh-ree-lee-uh burg-door-fur-eye). A Gram-negative, loosely coiled spirochete; the causative agent of Lyme disease; transmitted from infected deer and mice to humans by tick bite. Campylobacter jejuni (Kam-pih-low-bak-ter juh-ju-nee). A curved, Gram-negative bacillus, having a characteristic corkscrew-like motility; often seen in pairs (described as a gull-wing morphology because a pair of curved bacilli resembles a bird); microaerophilic and capnophilic; a common cause of gastroenteritis with malaise, myalgia, arthralgia, headache, and cramping abdominal pain. Chlamydia (Kluh-mid-ee-uh) species. Pleomorphic, Gram-negative bacteria that are obligate intracellular pathogens; unable to grow on artificial media; etiologic agents of nongonococcal urethritis (NGU), trachoma, inclusion conjunctivitis, lymphogranuloma venereum, pneumonia, and psittacosis (ornithosis); different serotypes cause different diseases. Clostridium botulinum (Klos-trid-ee-um bot-yu-ly-num). An anaerobic, sporeforming, Gram-posi tive bacillus; common in soil; produces a neurotoxin called botulinum toxin, which causes botulism, a very serious and sometimes fatal type of food poisoning.

Clostridium difficile (Klos-trid-ee-um dif-fuh-seal). An anaerobic, spore-forming, Gram-posi tive bacillus; it can colonize the intestinal tract, where overgrowth (superinfection) commonly occurs after ingestion of oral antibiotics; this organism produces two toxinsan enterotoxin that causes antibiotic-associated diarrhea (AAD) and a cytotoxin that causes pseudomembranous colitis (PMC); a common cause of nosocomial infections. Clostridium perfringens (Klos-trid-ee-um purr-frin-jens). An anaerobic, sporeforming, Gram-posi tive bacillus; common in feces and soil; the most common cause of gas gangrene (myonecrosis); produces an enterotoxin that produces a relatively mild type of food poisoning. Clostridium tetani (Klos-trid-ee-um tet-an-eye). An anaerobic, spore-forming, Grampositive bacillus; common in soil; produces a neurotoxin called tetanospasmin, which causes tetanus. Corynebacterium diphtheriae (Kuh-ry-nee-bak-teer-ee-um dif-thee-ree-ee). A pleomorphic, Gram-posi tive bacillus; toxigenic (toxin-producing) strains cause diphtheria, whereas nontoxigenic strains do not. Enterococcus (En-ter-oh-kok-us) species. Gram-positive cocci; common members of the indigenous microflora of the gastrointestinal tract; opportunistic pathogens; a fairly common cause of cystitis and nosocomial infections; some strains, called vancomycinresistant enterococci (VRE), are multidrug-resistant. Escherichia coli (Esh-er-ick-ee-uh koh-ly). A member of the family Enterobacteriaceae; a Gram-negative bacillus; a facultative anaerobe; a very common member of the indigenous microflora of the colon; an opportunistic pathogen; the most common cause of septicemia and urinary tract and nosocomial infections; some serotypes (called the enterovirulent E. coli) are always pathogens.

Francisella tularensis (Fran-suh-sel-luh tool-uh-ren-sis). A Gram-negative bacil lus; the causative agent of tularemia; may enter the body by inhalation, ingestion, tick bite, or penetration of broken or unbroken skin; tularemia frequently follows contact with infected animals (e.g., rabbits). Fusobacterium (Few-zoh-bak-teer-ee-um) species. Anaerobic, Gram-negative bacill i; common members of the indigenous microflora of the oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract, and vagina; opportunistic pathogens that cause a variety of infections, including oral and respiratory infections. Haemophilus influenzae (He-mof-uh-lus in-flu-en-zee). A fastidious, Gram-negative bacillus; a facultative anaerobe; encapsulated; found in low numbers as indigenous microflora of the upper respiratory tract; an opportunistic pathogen; a cause of bacterial meningitis, ear infections, and respiratory infections, but is not the cause of influenza (which is caused by influenza viruses); some strains are ampicillin-resistant. Helicobacter pylori (Hee-luh-ko-bak-ter py-lor-ee). A curved, Gram-negative bacillus; capable of colonizing the stomach; a common cause of stomach and duodenal ulcers. Klebsiella pneumoniae (Kleb-see-el-uh new-moh-nee-ee). A member of the family Enterobacteriaceae; a Gram-negative bacillus; a facultative anaerobe; a common member of the indigenous microflora of the colon; an opportunistic pathogen; a fai rly common cause of pneumonia and cystitis. Lactobacillus (Lak-toh-buh-sil-us) species. Gram-positive bacilli; some species are found in foods (e.g., yogurt, cheese); other species are common members of the indigenous microflora of the vagina and gastrointestinal tract; rarely pathogenic. Legionella pneumophila (Lee-juh-nel-luh new-mah-fill-uh). An aerobic, Gram-negative bacillus; common in soil and water; the causative agent of legionellosis (a type of pneumonia); can contaminate water tanks and pipes; has caused epidemics in hotels, hospitals, and cruise ships.

Listeria monocytogenes (Lis-teer-ee-uh mon-oh-sigh-toj-uh-nees). A Gram-positive bacillus; the causative agent of listeriosis; can cause meningitis, encephali tis, P.354 septicemia, endocarditis, abortion, and abscesses; enters the body via ingestion of contaminated foods (e.g., cheese). Mycobacterium leprae (My-koh-bak-teer-ee-um lep-ree). An aerobic, acid-fast, Gramvariable bacillus; referred to as the leprosy bacillus or Hansen's bacillus; the causative agent of leprosy (Hansen's disease); transmitted from person to person; has been found in wild armadil los, which are now used as laboratory animals to propagate \ this organism. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (My-koh-bak-teer-ee-um tu-ber-kyu-loh-sis). An acidfast, Gram-variable bacil lus; causes tuberculosis; many strains are multidrug-resistant. Mycoplasma pneumoniae (My-koh-plaz-muh new-moh-nee-ee). A small, pleomorphic, Gram-negative bacterium; lacks a cell wall; the causative agent of atypical pneumonia. Neisseria gonorrhoeae (Ny-see-ree-uh gon-or-ree-ee). Also known as gonococcus or GC; a fastidious, Gram-negative diplococcus; microaerophil ic and capnophilic; always a pathogen; causes gonorrhea; many strains are penicillin-resistant. Neisseria meningitidis (Ny-see-ree-uh men-in-jih-tid-is). Also known as meningococcus; an aerobic, Gram-negative diplococcus; found as indigenous microflora of the upper respiratory tract of some people (referred to as carriers); a common cause of bacterial meningitis; also causes respiratory infections. Nocardia (No-kar-dee-uh) species. Aerobic, acid-fast, Gram-positive bacil li; the causative agents of nocardiosis (a respiratory disease) and mycetoma (a tumorlike disease, most often involving the feet).

Peptostreptococcus (Pep-toh-strep-toh-kok-us) species. Anaerobic, Gram-positive cocci; common members of the indigenous microflora of the gastrointestinal tract, vagina, and oral cavity; opportunistic pathogens that cause a variety of infections, including abscesses, oral infections, and appendicitis. Porphyromonas (Porf-uh-row-mow-nus) species. Anaerobic, Gram-negative bacilli; common members of the indigenous microflora of the oral cavity and gastrointestinal tract; opportunistic pathogens that cause a variety of infections, including abscesses, oral infections, and bite wound infections. Prevotella (Pree-voh-tel-luh) species. Anaerobic, Gram-negative bacilli ; common members of the indigenous microflora of the vagina and gastrointestinal tract; opportunistic pathogens that cause a variety of infections, including abscesses. Proteus (Pro-tee-us) species. Members of the family Enterobacteriaceae; Gramnegative bacilli; facultative anaerobes; common members of the indigenous microflora of the colon; opportunistic pathogens; a fairly common cause of cystitis. Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Su-doh-moh-nas air-uj-in-oh-suh). An aerobic, Gramnegative bacil lus; produces a characteristic blue-green pigment (pyocyanin); has a characteristic fruity odor; causes burn wound, ear, urinary tract, and respiratory infections; one of the major causes of nosocomial infections; most strains are multidrug-resistant and resistant to some disinfectants. Rickettsia (Rih-ket-see-uh) species. Gram-negative bacilli that are obligate P.355 intracellular pathogens; unable to grow on arti ficial media; the causative agents of typhus and typhuslike diseases (e.g., Rocky Mountain spotted fever); all rickettsial diseases are transmitted by arthropods (ticks, fleas, mites, lice).

Salmonella (Sal-moh-nel-uh) species. Members of the family Enterobacteriaceae; Gram-negative bacilli; facultative anaerobes; a fairly common cause of food poisoning, especially cases caused by contaminated poultry; Salmonella typhi is the causative agent of typhoid fever. Shigella (She-gel-uh) species. Members of the family Enterobacteriaceae; Gramnegative bacilli; facultative anaerobes; a major cause of gastroenteritis and childhood mortal ity in the developing nations of the world. Staphylococcus aureus (Staf-ih-low-kok-us aw-ree-us). (See the shaded box in Chapter 17 entitled, A Closer Look at Staphylococcus aureus.) Streptococcus agalactiae (Strep-toh-kok-us ay-guh-lak-tee-ee). Also known as group B streptococcus; a .-hemolytic, Gram-positive coccus; often colonizes the vagina; a frequent cause of neonatal meningitis. Streptococcus pneumoniae (Strep-toh-kok-us new-moh-nee-ee). (See the shaded box in Chapter 17 entitled, A Closer Look at Streptococcus pneumoniae.) Streptococcus pyogenes (Strep-toh-kok-us py-oj-uh-nees). (See the shaded box in Chapter 17 entitled, A Closer Look at Streptococcus pyogenes.) Treponema pallidum (Trep-oh-nee-muh pal-luh-dum). A very thin, tightly coiled spirochete; the causative agent of syphilis. Vibrio cholerae (Vib-ree-oh khol-er-ee). An aerobic, curved (comma-shaped), Gramnegative bacil lus; halophil ic; lives in salt water; the causative agent of cholera. Yersinia pestis (Yer-sin-ee-uh pes-tis). A Gram-negative bacillus; the causative agent of plague in humans, rodents, and other mammals; transmitted from rat to rat and rat to human by the rat flea.