Some bacteria are harmless and some are useful, however, bacterial diseases are caused by disease producing bacteria
Some of the bacterial diseases in humans are:
1] Tuberculosis - This is usually a disease of the lungs, although other parts of the body may also be affected. It is caused by a small rod shaped bacterium (mycobacterium tuberculosis) and spread by sputum from the infected persons. The germs may be carried by air or dust. In the body, the surrounding tissues form a kind of wall or tubercle around the germs. The germs are widespread and almost everyone receives them. Most people overcome minor infections. If the body's resistance is low, the disease becomes severe. An antibiotic (streptomycin) is a very effective drug in curing tuberculosis because it inhibits the growth of bacteria.
2] Cholera - This disease attacks the intestinal tract. It is caused by a special bacterium called vibrio (vibrio cholerae). The incubation period is 2-6 days. The patient suffers from vomiting and loose bowel movements. There is very little or no urination because of the shortage of water in the body. Urea accumulates in the body, which is poisonous. The patient may die if not treated properly and promptly. The treatment includes saline water injections to supply water to the blood.
The cholera germ is spread through food and water. The contamination results from exposure to contaminated dust and by direct transport through flies. The flies sit on the excrement of the patient and mechanically carry the germs, which stick to their legs and body, to exposed food that is later eaten by others.
3] Tetanus - This is also popularly called lockjaw, because in its last phase the patient's jaw becomes tightly closed or locked. Death results in most cases. It is caused by the tetanus bacterium clostridium. The germ enters the body through deep wounds. Any cut in the skin due to a fall on the ground can be the cause of a tetanus infection. The incubation period is from 4 days to 3 weeks. The germ is frequently present in horse and cow-dung.
4] Syphilis - It is one of the venereal bacterial diseases which is also called sexually transmitted diseases. Its bacteria (treponema) grows in the genital tubes and causes a pus-like discharge. Syphilis is very dangerous and may extend to all other systems of the body, sometimes leading to death. Contact with the lips of an infected person can also spread syphilis. Antibiotics, particularly penicillin, are very good in curing these bacterial diseases.
5] Typhoid fever - Its major symptom is a continuous fever which usually arises in the afternoon. Reddish eruptions appear on the chest and abdomen. The causative germ (salmonella typhi) is a flagellated bacterium that attacks the intestines. The patient passes out the germs in his excrement. Flies and direct contamination of food, particularly of milk, spread the disease. The incubation period is about 7-12 days. After recovery, in about 2-3 weeks, the patient is left very weak. Relapse is not uncommon. Some people, after recovery, are carriers of the disease.
Tips and comments
Preventive measures for these bacterial diseases include proper sanitation, immunization, avoiding exposed food and in the case of Syphilis, avoiding sexual contact with an infected person.
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