Essay on Danger to Life from a College Student

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Naegleria fowleri

Naegleria fowleri is a single celled ameba that causes infection in the brain of humans, also known as the Brain-eating ameba. You can be infected N. fowleri through contaminated water (Baig).

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Naegleria fowleri infects humans, but surprisingly you cannot get infected from drinking water contaminated with N. Fowleri. N. Fowleri infects individuals only if contaminated water enters the nasal canal (Yoder). This often will happen if someone goes swimming in a body of fresh water and puts their head under water. Naegleria fowleri can also be found in soil, but is less likely to infect from being in soil. N. fowleri target organ is the brain. The microorganism travels up the nasal canal and attacks the brain (John, 103).

According to the Center for Disease Control N. fowleri has been detected in all continents except Antartica. N. fowleri is a thermophilic, meaning heat loving, so it is found in warmer water (Yoder). Diseases caused by N. fowleri are extremely rare and extremely fatal. The disease N. fowleri causes is known as Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis. The initial symptoms typically begin to start about five days after infection. Primarily, the symptoms are headaches, fever, vomiting and nausea. Later, symptoms become a bit more severe, including stiff neck, confusion, difficulty paying attention ,poor balance, seizures and hallucinations. Typically, from the first day of symptoms death occurs within two weeks. The actual mechanical cause of death is destruction of brain tissue which causes swelling of the brain (John, 114).

The fatality rate of Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis is approximately 95% and there are not many known treatments. Thus far, the most successful treatment has been the drug Amphotericin B. Amphotericin B is an antifungil medication that can be effective in treating Primary Amebic Meningoencephalitis, although treatments must begin very early and can lead to other health issues such as renal problems (Baig).

There is no telling whether a body of water is infected with N. fowleri, so there is very little you can do to protect yourself from infection, luckily N. fowleri is very rare. Technically speaking, you could avoid submerging your head in warm bodies of water to avoid infection, but because of the rarity of this microorganism it is not completely necessary to attempt to protect yourself. Water in storage tanks and wells is more likely to contain N. fowleri as well, so it is common to be found in places where there are water shortages and water is stored, but even then as long as the microorganism doesn’t go up an individuals nose they will not be infected by N. fowleri. Water maintenance and hygiene are important to protect water from dangerous microorganisms (John, 118).

Streptococcus pneumoniae

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a bacteria that has a polysaccharide capsule. S. pneumoniae is the leading cause in meningitis and pneumonia. S. pneumoniae is a gram positive bacterium, whose morphology is cocci or diplococci. This bacterium grows best at 35-37°C with approximately 5% CO2 (Mariomom).

Pneumonia is the most common disease caused by S. pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection that inflames the air sacs of the lungs. Symptoms of pneumonia include chills, cough, difficulty breathing and chest pain. Pneumonia can be especially dangerous in the elderly because of their weakened immune system. In the elderly pneumonia can lead to confusion. Pneumonia can be treated by antibiotics but if not treated pneumonia can lead to a blood infection or an abscess in the lungs, which can be very serious (Klein).

S. pneumonia can also lead to meningitis. Meningitis is an infection of the tissue covering the brain and the spinal cord causing swelling. This swelling can lead to headaches and stiffness of the neck. S. pneumonia most often leads to bacterial meningitis in infants, children and young adults. This can be avoided with vaccines. If someone is diagnosed with meningitis immediate treatment is necessary via intravenous antibiotics. If not treated meningitis can lead to brain damage or death (Klein).

Streptoccus pneumoniae transmission can occur from direct person to person contact. You can spread the bacteria by droplets of saliva or mucus. This can be spread by sneezing or coughing. You can also spread S. pneumoniae through direct oral contact, like kissing. Often in children S. pneumoniae is spread from sharing toys (Maiomom).

There are both prevention and treatment option for infections caused by S. pneumoniae. There are two types of vaccines, conjugate vaccines and polyshaccharide vaccines. The polysacharide vaccine is effective in adults, but the conjugate vaccine is recommended for children. If someone does become infected, they can be treated by antibiotics. Unfortunately, S. pneumoniae has become resistant to many antibiotics. This makes the infection resistant to drugs like amoxicillin and azithromycin, commonly used drugs to treat infections (Klein). You can avoid the risk of spreading infection by washing your hands, cleaning things like toys and door knobs and getting vaccinated. Because of the resistance to antibiotics it is important for people to get vaccinated to decrease the risk of infection.

Clostridium

An endospore is a dormant, reduced form of bacteria. Bacteria form endospores to survive in unfavorable conditions or due to lack of nutrients until they are in a condition they can thrive in. A pathogenic bacteria that forms endospores is Clostridium difficile. C. difficile is an anaerobic, gram positive, bacilus shaped bacteria (Motzkus-Feagans). C. difficile is actually all around us internally and externally. Infection caused by C. difficile is very common in hospital settings. Often C. difficile infects patients receiving antibiotics. Our stomach has important bacteria in it for protection and digestion. Antibiotics can wipe out this good bacteria, allowing C. difficile overpopulate the intestines or colon causing infection, like Colitis. C. difficile can be found in healthy individuals in the dormant phase. When antibiotics wipe out the good bacteria that keeps C. difficile under control is what leads to infection (Motzkus-Feagans).

Clostridium difficile colitis is the inflammation of the colon or intestines caused by toxins released from C. difficile. The symptoms of Colitis are fever, diarrhea and abdominal pain. If not treated promptly, Colitis can lead to severe dehydration or rupture of the colon, both of which can be life threatening. C. difficile Colitis can be treated by first stop administering the antibiotics that allowed C. difficile to infect, which can cause complications in antibiotic therapy. Then, you must treat the patient with an antibiotic that can kill C. difficile. Fidaxmicin and Vancomyvin are two drugs that have been successful in treating C. difficile Colitis (Vaishnavi). Unfortunately, patients suffering from C. difficile often relapse. While they are on the medication to treat C. difficile toxin production is stopped so the patient feels better, but the C. difficile spore is still dormant in the body. Then, when there is an opportunity for C. difficile to thrive and infect again, symptoms will return (Walters and Zuckerbraun).

C. difficile can also be spread through contact. C. difficile spores can be found in feces. If someone touches a surface that has been contaminated with feces and then transmits that to their mouth the infection can spread. Often in hospitals, infection can be spread from hospital employees touching contaminated snapchats and then working with another patient. C. difficile is also commonly spread in hot tubs and pools. Spreading C. difficile can be prevented through hand washing, contact precautions when in contact with feces and using antibiotics wisely (Walters and Zuckerbraun).

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Essay on danger to life from a college student. (2022, Sep 29). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from
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