Dangerous Bacteria: Examples of E. Coli & More

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In summary: However, I'm not sure which specific species would do that. In summary, there are many bacteria that are normally harmless in their natural habitat, but can cause harm if they are in a different part of the body. Some examples include E. coli, Prevotella, Sphingomonas, Streptococcus, Bacteroides pneumosintes, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus, Acidaminococcus fermentans, Bacterionema matruchotii, and Citrobacter freundii. These bacteria may be harmless in their natural habitat, but can cause infections or illness if they colonize a different area of the body.
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It is known that some bacteria are dangerous ONLY when they're in the wrong place, f.i. E. Coli. Does anyone know some more examples?
 
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mark! said:
It is known that some bacteria are dangerous ONLY when they're in the wrong place, f.i. E. Coli. Does anyone know some more examples?
Just about any bacterium can pose a potential health hazard if it is in the 'wrong place', which is a rather vague term.
 
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E. Coli's natural habitat inside the body is the lower intestine. That's his place, because outside it, he can be harmful. So it's not a harmful bacterium in defenition, only when it resides at the wrong place.

I meant if there are any examples of other bacteria, who's natural habitat is f.i. the liver, and outside it, it can be harmful. Does anyone know such an example?
 
  • #4
mark! said:
It is known that some bacteria are dangerous ONLY when they're in the wrong place, f.i. E. Coli. Does anyone know some more examples?

mark! said:
E. Coli's natural habitat inside the body is the lower intestine. That's his place, because outside it, he can be harmful. So it's not a harmful bacterium in defenition, only when it resides at the wrong place.

I meant if there are any examples of other bacteria, who's natural habitat is f.i. the liver, and outside it, it can be harmful. Does anyone know such an example?

What is the context of your question? Is this for schoolwork? Can you tell us some of the examples that you have found so far in your studies? :-)
 
  • #5
mark! said:
E. Coli's natural habitat inside the body is the lower intestine. That's his place, because outside it, he can be harmful. So it's not a harmful bacterium in defenition, only when it resides at the wrong place.

I meant if there are any examples of other bacteria, who's natural habitat is f.i. the liver, and outside it, it can be harmful. Does anyone know such an example?

It's useful to think of humans as a sort of misshapen, hollow cylinder where the outside surface of the cylinder is our skin, the inside surface is our digestive tract, and the stuff in between is our internal organs. If you think of us this way, you'll see that our digestive tract is topologically part of our outside, and is a place where things in our environment interface with us, just like our skin. This is one reason why it's not troublesome to have bacteria and other microbes living in our gut; our body treats it as if it's part of the outside world and maintains barriers to protect itself from these microbes. Because our body keeps bacteria away from our true insides, you won't find any bacteria whose natural habitat is say, the liver or any other internal organ.
 
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Ygggdrasil said:
Because our body keeps bacteria away from our true insides, you won't find any bacteria whose natural habitat is say, the liver or any other internal organ.

Are you sure? Prevotella, Sphingomonas, Streptococcus are bacteria that belong to our lungs. Bacteroides pneumosintes belong to our pharynx, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Acidaminococcus fermentans to our large intestines, Bacterionema matruchotii to our gingiva, Citrobacter freundii to our sputum, the list goes on and on. They are not dangerous in their own area, but my question is if some of them are, just like E. Coli, dangerous outside their own area, and instead, inside an other one.
 
  • #7
mark! said:
Are you sure? Prevotella, Sphingomonas, Streptococcus are bacteria that belong to our lungs. Bacteroides pneumosintes belong to our pharynx, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Acidaminococcus fermentans to our large intestines, Bacterionema matruchotii to our gingiva, Citrobacter freundii to our sputum, the list goes on and on. They are not dangerous in their own area, but my question is if some of them are, just like E. Coli, dangerous outside their own area, and instead, inside an other one.

The idea in Ygggdrasil's post, although not explicit in the matter, covers the respiratory tract as well. As we are constantly breathing, all tissues and organs involved with respiration are interacting with the outside world constantly. It only makes sense that some bugs would find themselves a nice home at different sites which are still "part of the outside" so to speak. Compare, for example, the difficulty of a bug getting into our lungs versus a bug getting into, say, the liver or the brain. Or compare the microorganisms found in our intestines with those found in the peritoneal cavity.
 
  • #8
I think you'll find that the dangerous E. coli is a rare mutant strain that wreaks havoc if it takes hold. Ordinary old E. coli is comparatively harmless. (I base this on a discussion with my microbiology lab instructor, and recall her saying she would happily drink a glass of E. coli. We also discussed how she would start the culture, but I'll spare you the details of that.)

A couple of years back some people died from E. coli that they ingested, it came from the skin of rock melons. When the melon was sliced the knife pushed bacteria from the skin into the flesh. How did E. coli get onto the skins of melons? From fertiliser ---- animal manure spread around the fields where the melons were grown. (Though they never did specify which animals... )

Staphylococcus is another resident bacteria (found on our skin and in our nose and throat) which if it gets out of control can cause skin infections (boils).
 
  • #9
mark! said:
Are you sure? Prevotella, Sphingomonas, Streptococcus are bacteria that belong to our lungs. Bacteroides pneumosintes belong to our pharynx, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus and Acidaminococcus fermentans to our large intestines, Bacterionema matruchotii to our gingiva, Citrobacter freundii to our sputum, the list goes on and on. They are not dangerous in their own area, but my question is if some of them are, just like E. Coli, dangerous outside their own area, and instead, inside an other one.

Yes, there will certainly be examples of native microflora in some regions (for example, the gut) causing disease if they colonize a different area (like the nasal cavity or urinary tract). My point was just that many internal organs (like the liver) will not have bacteria in their native environments.
 

What is E. coli and why is it dangerous?

E. coli is a type of bacteria that is commonly found in the intestines of animals and humans. While most types of E. coli are harmless, some strains can cause serious foodborne illness if ingested. These strains produce a toxin that can cause severe diarrhea and abdominal cramps.

Where is E. coli commonly found?

E. coli is commonly found in undercooked or contaminated meats, unpasteurized dairy products, and raw fruits and vegetables. It can also be found in contaminated water, especially in areas with poor sanitation.

How can I prevent E. coli infection?

To prevent E. coli infection, it is important to properly cook meat, poultry, and eggs. It is also important to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before consuming them. Avoid drinking unpasteurized milk or juices and make sure to only consume water from safe sources.

What are the symptoms of E. coli infection?

Symptoms of E. coli infection typically include severe abdominal cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and vomiting. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may last for several days. In some cases, more serious complications such as kidney failure may occur.

When should I seek medical attention for an E. coli infection?

If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as bloody diarrhea, dehydration, or persistent vomiting, it is important to seek medical attention immediately. E. coli infection can be treated with antibiotics and supportive care, but early treatment is crucial in preventing serious complications.

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