Bacilli – Infection, Transmission & Diseases


Bacilli are also known as rod bacteria . Bacilli include bacteria such as Escherichia coli or salmonella .

What are germs?

Bacilli are rod-shaped bacteria. The term does not encompass a specific group of bacteria, but refers solely to the appearance of the bacteria. There are many different types of bacteria among the bacilli.

This includes both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. Gram-positive bacteria can be stained blue in the so-called Gram stain. Gram-negative bacteria take on a red coloration. While the gram-positive bacteria also have an outer cell membrane in addition to a thick peptidoglycan layer made of murein, the gram-negative bacilli lack this additional cell wall. Distinguishing between gram-positive and gram-negative bacilli plays a role in the treatment of infectious diseases . Gram-positive bacilli are treated with different antibiotics than gram-negative bacteria.

In contrast to the cocci , the bacilli usually live alone. Gram-positive bacilli include Bacillus , Lactobacillus , Corynebacterium, Listeria and Propionibacteria. Examples of Gram-negative bacilli are Salmonella, Escherichia , Pseudomonas and Bacteroides .

Occurrence, Distribution & Properties

The distribution of rod-shaped bacteria varies greatly depending on the species. Bacteria such as Escherichia or Lactobacillus live physiologically in the human intestine . There they are part of the healthy intestinal flora and take on various tasks in digestion . Clostridia also live in small amounts in the human intestine. If the site flora is damaged by antibiotic therapy, for example, the Clostridium bacterium spreads and causes severe inflammation . Humans are also the only reservoir for the rod -shaped bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae . The causative agent of diphtheriais transmitted through close contact with infected people.

Some salmonella species, on the other hand, are mainly found on eggs and in poultry meat. On the other hand, other types of salmonella, such as Salmonella typhi, are preferably transmitted by people who are already ill. Ingestion is also possible through contaminated animal food.

Meaning & Function

Some bacilli live in symbiosis with humans. These include, for example, the lactobacilli. They belong to the order of lactic acid bacteria and occur naturally in humans in the intestines and vagina. Lactobacilli process lactose into lactic acid . They belong to the probiotic bacteria. This means that they worsen the living conditions of pathogenic microorganisms with their metabolic products. They create an acidic environment. However, most bacteria that are harmful to humans prefer an alkaline environment. Lactobacilli prevent the colonization of pathogenic germs in the vagina and in the intestine. In the gastrointestinal tractthe bacilli produce various nutrients. These include, for example, niacin and folic acid .

Escherichia coli is also a rod-shaped bacterium that belongs to the physiological intestinal flora of humans. As part of the local flora, it protects the intestinal mucosa from colonization by harmful bacteria. In addition, the coli bacteria convert various nutrients, which then serve to nourish the intestinal mucosa cells. Escherichia coli bacteria also function as producers of vitamin K.

Just like lactobacilli and Escherichia coli, the bacteroides also belong to the normal flora of the mucous membranes in the gastrointestinal tract. The exact tasks of the bacteria are still unclear. What is certain, however, is that they act as placeholders. They settle on the intestinal mucosa and thus prevent pathogenic microorganisms from being able to spread in the intestine.

Diseases & Ailments

Some of the bacilli are human pathogens. This includes, for example, the Corynebacterium diphteriae. It is the causative agent of diphtheria. Diphtheria toxin is responsible for the sometimes severe symptoms of the disease. It enters the bacterium via the prophage beta virus . This leads to fatigue , nausea and vomiting in tonsil and pharyngeal diphtheria . A yellowish-white coating forms on the almonds , which is accompanied by a putrid-sweet mouth odor . Dangerous is laryngeal diphtheria, which causes a barking cough , hoarseness and, in severe cases, suffocation attacks.

Listeria can also cause an infectious disease. Listeriosis is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes . The clinical picture of listeriosis is variable. In immunocompetent individuals, the infection is usually asymptomatic or with mild flu-like symptoms. Immunocompromised people can develop meningoencephalitis , peritonitis , or pneumonia . Listeria infection is also associated with risks in pregnant women . The infection can be transmitted to the unborn child and cause an abortion .

There are several species in the Clostridia bacilli group that can harm humans. These include Clostridium botulinum , the causative agent of botulism . Botulism is also known as meat poisoning. It is a life-threatening poisoning caused by the clostridia botulinum toxin. The poisoning is usually caused by spoiled meat or boiled vegetables. The botulinum toxin affects the function of the nerves . Patients have blurred and/or double vision, dilated pupils , and difficulty speaking and swallowing . In severe cases, theParalysis throughout the body culminating in death from suffocation or cardiac arrest .

Another rod-shaped bacterium from the Clostridia family is Clostridium difficile . Clostridium difficile is one of the most common nosocomial pathogens. In healthy people, the bacterium is a harmless intestinal dweller. However, if the competing species of the physiological intestinal flora are suppressed by the administration of antibiotics, Clostridium difficile can multiply and produce toxins. These can cause pseudomembranous colitis, a life-threatening diarrheal disease .

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.