Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

A bacterial species found in soil, water, and commonly in clinical specimens (wound infections, infected burn lesions, urinary tract infections); the causative agent of blue pus; occasionally pathogenic for plants; usually causes infections in humans in whom there is a defect in host defense mechanisms. It is the type species of the genus Pseudomonas.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a Gram-negative bacterium that is noted for its environmental versatility, ability to cause disease in particular susceptible individuals, and its resistance to antibiotics. The most serious complication of cystic fibrosis is respiratory tract infection by the ubiquitous bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Cancer and burn patients also commonly suffer serious infections by this organism, as do certain other individuals with Immune systems deficiencies.

Unlike many environmental bacteria, P. aeruginosa has a remarkable capacity to cause disease in susceptible hosts. It has the ability to adapt to and thrive in many ecological niches, from water and soil to plant and animal tissues. The bacterium is capable of utilizing a wide range of organic compounds as food sources, thus giving it an exceptional ability to colonize ecological niches where nutrients are limited. P. aeruginosa can produce a number of toxic proteins which not only cause extensive tissue damage, but also interfere with the human immune system's defense mechanisms. These proteins range from potent toxins that enter and kill host cells at or near the site of colonization to degradative enzymes that permanently disrupt the cell membranes and connective tissues in various organs. This bacterium is also noted for its resistance to many antibiotics.

P. aeruginosa is widely studied by scientists who are interested in not only its ability to cause disease and resist antibiotics, but also its metabolic capability and environmental versatility. Analysis of its genome sequence has identified genes involved in locomotion, attachment, transport and utilization of nutrients, antibiotic efflux, and systems involved in sensing and responding to environmental changes.

A major interest of Pharmaceutical companies is to learn more about the genes of P. aeruginosa and other disease-causing bacteria in order to better understand the Physiology of these organisms. These insights will be used to develop new antibacterial drugs to successfully treat infections by bacteria like P. aeruginosa that are resistant to many of today's antibiotics.


The symptoms depend on the part of the body that is infected. Fever, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, etc are the most common symptoms. Other symptoms include:

    Bone infection: Swollen infected part, redness.

  • Ear infection: Pain in the ear, reduced ability to hear, facial paralysis.

  • Eye infection: Pain in the eye, reduced vision, swollen eyelids.

  • Cystic fibrosis: Cough, reduced appetite, fast breathing, enlargement of the abdomen.

  • Skin infection: Ulcer that can result in bleeding.


Diagnosis of P.aeruginosa infection depends upon Isolation & laboratory identification of the bacterium. It grows well on most laboratory media and commonly is isolated on blood agar or eosin-methylene blue (agar). It is identified on the basis of its Gram morphology, inability to ferment lactose, a positive oxidase reaction, its fruity odor, and its ability to grow at 42°C. Fluorescence under ultraviolet light is helpful in early identification of P. aeruginosa colonies. Fluorescence is also used to suggest the presence of P. aeruginosa in wounds.

P. aeruginosa is frequently isolated from non-sterile sites (mouth swabs, sputum, etc.), and, under these circumstances, it often represents colonization and not infection. The isolation of P. aeruginosa from non-sterile specimens should, therefore, be interpreted cautiously, and the advice of a Microbiologist or infectious diseases physician/pharmacist should be sought prior to starting treatment.


P. aeruginosa is naturally resistant to a large range of antibiotics and may demonstrate additional resistance after unsuccessful treatment, in particular, through modification of a porins. It should usually be possible to guide treatment according to Laboratory sensitivities, rather than choosing an antibiotic empirically. If antibiotics are started empirically, then every effort should be made to obtain cultures, and the choice of antibiotic used should be reviewed when the culture results are available.

Phage therapy against P. aeruginosa remains one of the most effective treatments, which can be combined with antibiotics, has no contraindications and minimal adverse effects. Phages are produced as sterile liquid, suitable for intake, applications, etc.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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