Bacteriology

Overview of bacteriology

Written by MicroDok

Bacteriology is a branch of basic microbiology that is concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases caused by bacteria. It is simply the study of bacteria that are of medical importance i.e. that cause diseases in human beings and animals. Medical bacteriology is the study of the interactions between pathogenic bacteria and the human body as well as that of other animals and mammals that culminate in the development of infectious diseases in them. It also encompasses the pathogenicity, virulence and laboratory detection as well as the control and the prevention of the diseases caused by the pathogenic bacteria.

Bacteriology is defined as the study of bacteria. Medical Bacteriology is a branch of medical microbiology that is concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of infectious diseases caused by bacterial pathogens. It is simply the study of bacteria that are of medical importance i.e. that cause diseases in human beings and animals. Medical bacteriology is the study of the interactions between pathogenic bacteria and the human body as well as that of other animals and mammals that culminate in the development of infectious diseases in them. It also encompasses the pathogenicity, virulence and laboratory detection as well as the control and the prevention of the diseases caused by the pathogenic bacteria. As will be seen later in this textbook, there are plethora of bacteria that cause different diseases and infections in humans.

Microbiologists study bacteria as well as other microbes in order to gain basic understanding about their physiology, reproduction and metabolic activities so that they can understand the diseases they cause and develop practicable ways to control them, thereby preventing their emergence and spread within a given population. Prior to the discovery of antimicrobial agents (antibiotics in particular), pathogenic bacteria have caused many deaths and infections in human populations. Some bacterial diseases such as plague, tuberculosis (TB), diarrhea, dysentery, pneumonia, diphtheria, cholera and typhoid fever amongst others used to kill mankind in their thousands and millions. But due to the advent of antibiotics for the therapeutic management of these diseases coupled with improvement in water supply and environmental sanitation, humanity started to witness a drastic fall in some of these world epidemic diseases. However, some of these diseases (e.g. TB) which were once taught to be conquered by man have now re-emerged in the form of multidrug resistant strains, and some have caused some appreciable number of morbidity and mortality across the world.

Today, there is plethora of multidrug resistant strains of some pathogenic bacteria including Staphylococci, Escherichia, Klebsiella, and Pseudomonas amongst others which are defiant even in the face of antimicrobial onslaught; and a handful of these organisms are responsible for a majority of nosocomial infections and even community-acquired infections. About one-third of all deaths in the world today is caused by infectious agents including pathogenic bacteria, and the situation is worse in developing countries where environmental sanitation and access to quality healthcare services are still poor amongst the population. Aside this, a fall in the body’s natural defense against infectious diseases (i.e. the host’s immune system) which could be due to malnutrition and other predisposing factors can also increase people’s chances of becoming infected by pathogenic bacteria. In this chapter, some of the clinically important bacteria will be discussed from the point of view of their pathogenicity and/or host-parasite relationship, laboratory detection, immunity and their treatment in the face of infection.

Microbiologists study bacteria as well as other microorganisms in order to gain basic understanding about their physiology, reproduction and metabolic activities so that they can understand the diseases they cause and develop practicable ways to control them, thereby preventing their emergence and spread within a given population. Prior to the discovery of antimicrobial agents (antibiotics in particular), pathogenic bacteria have caused many deaths and infections in human populations. Some bacterial diseases such as plague, tuberculosis (TB), diarrhea, dysentery, pneumonia, diphtheria, cholera and typhoid fever amongst others used to kill mankind in their thousands and millions. But due to the advent of antibiotics for the therapeutic management of these diseases coupled with improvement in water supply and environmental sanitation, humanity started to witness a drastic fall in some of these world epidemic diseases.

However, some of these diseases (e.g. TB) which were once taught to be conquered by man have now re-emerged in the form of multidrug resistant strains, and some have caused some appreciable number of morbidity and mortality across the world. Today, there is plethora of multidrug resistant strains of some pathogenic bacteria including Staphylococci, Escherichia, Klebsiella, and Pseudomonas amongst others which are defiant even in the face of antimicrobial onslaught; and a handful of these organisms are responsible for a majority of nosocomial infections and even community-acquired infections. Aside this, a fall in the body’s natural defense against infectious diseases (i.e. the host’s immune system) which could be due to malnutrition and other predisposing factors can also increase people’s chances of becoming infected by pathogenic bacteria. The morbidity and mortality caused by pathogenic bacteria in human and animal population has been largely reduced through water purification, immunization (vaccination) and antibiotic treatment.

REFERENCES

Prescott L.M., Harley J.P and Klein D.A (2005). Microbiology. 6th ed. McGraw Hill Publishers, USA.

Madigan M.T., Martinko J.M., Dunlap P.V and Clark D.P (2009). Brock Biology of Microorganisms, 12th edition. Pearson Benjamin Cummings Inc, USA.

Balows A, Hausler W, Herrmann K.L, Isenberg H.D and Shadomy H.J (1991). Manual of clinical microbiology. 5th ed. American Society of Microbiology Press, USA.

Barrett   J.T (1998).  Microbiology and Immunology Concepts.  Philadelphia,   PA:  Lippincott-Raven Publishers. USA.

Basic laboratory procedures in clinical bacteriology. World Health Organization (WHO), 1991. Available from WHO publications, 1211 Geneva, 27-Switzerland.

Murray P.R, Baron E.J, Jorgensen J.H., Pfaller M.A and Yolken R.H (2003). Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 8th edition. Volume 1. American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Press, Washington, D.C, U.S.A.

Murray P.R, Baron E.J, Jorgensen J.H., Pfaller M.A and Yolken R.H (2003). Manual of Clinical Microbiology. 8th edition. Volume 2. American Society of Microbiology (ASM) Press, Washington, D.C, U.S.A.

Murray P.R., Rosenthal K.S., Kobayashi G.S., Pfaller M. A. (2002). Medical Microbiology. 4th edition. Mosby Publishers, Chile.

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