Pseudomonas Aeruginosa –
Causes, Transmission and Infection Control
What is Pseudomonas Aeruginosa?
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is a species of gram-negative bacteria that is commonly found in the environment and thrives in most moist environments like soil and water.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa belongs to the Psuedomonas bacteria family where there are more than 140 sub-species of Pseudomonas identified. Psuedomonas Aeruginosa is a well-known species due to its ability to infect and colonise plant, animal, and human hosts.
Pseudomonas Aerguginosa is considered one of the most life-threatening bacteria by the World Health Organisation and is one of the major microbiological food spoilers giving a clear marker of hygiene qualities of food and water suitable for human consumption.
Is Pseudomonas Contagious?
Yes. Pseudomonas is contagious. Transmission is possible through contact with contaminated surfaces or equipment, and also the consumption of contaminated water or fruit and vegetables. It can also pass from person to person via contact with hands and skin.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Bacterial Infections
Healthy people do not usually suffer infections when they encounter pseudomonas bacteria. However, it is possible for healthy people to develop skin irritations, skin rashes or ear infections if exposed to the bacteria. People with a weakened immune system, however, can develop serious complications from a Pseudomonas infection which unfortunately, may be fatal for some.
Pseudomonas is a common nosocomial infection causer, also referred to as a healthcare-associated infection (HAI) or hospital acquired infection. This is due to the fact that the pseudomonas bacteria exist in moist areas like sinks and toilets increasing the likelihood of exposure to people at risk of complications that are being treated in hospital, particularly intensive care or burn units.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection Risk Factors
People with weakened immune systems or battling major illness are most vulnerable however risk of infection related complications increases when a person:
- Has an open wound or incision from a surgical procedure.
- Has severe burns.
- Are assisted with medical devices that capture moisture such as a catheter or a breathing machine.
- Has received chemotherapy.
- Has HIV or another virus that can damage the immune system.
- Has cystic fibrosis.
- Has diabetes.
- Has cancer or a blood disorder that induces neutropenia.
- Has a medical condition that reduces the immune system.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection Symptoms
Pseudomonas can cause a wide range of infections of differing severity levels also affecting different parts of the body depending on where the contact with the bacteria occurs. Some examples include:
- A rash, swelling of the lymph nodes, chest tenderness and fever associated with exposure to the bacteria from using a hot tubs, jacuzzis and swimming pools.
- Foot wounds can lead to pseudomonas infection with tenderness, discharge and other infection signs. A delay in diagnosis can lead to more serious related health problems like inflammation or swelling in the bone or arthritis. Children are particularly susceptible.
- In burn patients pseudomonas infections can lead to discharge and inflammation which is possible to progress to sepsis and septic shock.
- Patients with diabetes suffering a pseudomonas infection can develop inflammation of the ear canal between the outer ear and the ear drum. This can also cause pain, discomfort and liquid discharge.
- Immunocompromised people are extremely susceptible to pneumonia caused by pseudomonas infection. Pneumonia symptoms include coughing, difficulty breathing, fever, headaches, loss of appetite and chest pain.
- Infection of Pseudomonas aeruginosa occurs in more than 60% of adults with cystic fibrosis and is linked to higher mortality.
- Other examples of symptoms include inflammation of internal eye tissue, inner lining of heart chambers and valves, the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord (Meningitis) and urinary tract infections.
Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection Prevention
As Pseudomonas bacteria is naturally present and the spread of pseudomonas is possible via hands, equipment or surfaces good infection control practices are very important especially in healthcare settings.
Hands should be kept clean with soap and water or appropriate hand sanitiser, especially when operating medical devices or tending to wounds.
Surfaces and environments should be regularly disinfected with an effective product that is also left to react for the required period of time to ensure all bacterial traces are destroyed.
It is also strongly recommended that all facilities should have water treatment measures in place to ensure water quality and minimize the risk of exposing people to potentially harmful micro-organisms like Pseudomonas Aeruginosa and Legionella.
It is essential that an appropriate disinfectant is used to ensure surfaces remain free of pseudomonas bacteria especially where people with weakened immune systems or those responsible for their care will interact with.
Further consideration should also be given that the disinfectant used forms no harmful by-products. A vast majority of disinfectant products are based on Chlorine chemistry’s which can produce toxic gases if incorrectly applied.
EndoSan is a highly effective surface disinfectant that forms no hazardous disinfectant by-products as it degrades into only water and oxygen as a result of destroying micro-organisms. EndoSan is tested according to standard EN127 Evaluation of chemical disinfectant or antiseptic for bactericidal activity proving EndoSan destroys pseudomonas aeurignosa (ATCC15442).
In order to pass EN 1276 the product must achieve a 5 log reduction in test bacteria (E.coli, Enterococcus hirae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus) at its specified dilution.
Water Treatment and Quality
As Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is present in moist environments water treatment to maintain an appropriate water quality level is of upmost importance to protect those with compromised immune systems as well as those that care for them or visit.
The design and plumbing of water systems can be complex and incorrect maintenance can lead to pathogens like Pseudomonas Aeruginosa colonising and flourishing within them. Pseudomonas Aeruginosa is a well-known biofilm forming bacteria which greatly assists in its ability to colonise surfaces and equipment and provides a protective environment for further multiplication not only for Pseudomonas but other bacterial species also.
The recently published British Standard Code of Practice, BS 8580-2022 – Water Quality Part 2: Risk assessments for Pseudomonas Aeruginosa focuses on pseudomonas particularly and the risk assessment process required to protect people from exposure to the bacteria.
This code of practice will ensure anybody charged with maintaining the safety of a water system should be up to date with this latest standard to properly identify risk factors for Pseudomonas and other waterborne pathogens.
Appropriate water treatment measures are required to provide a bactericidal barrier between the water system and the water that it supplies. Often a decision driven by what costs the least, due diligence should be performed to identify the best performing solution.
EndoSan is a next generation water treatment disinfectant with proven efficacy against Pseudomonas Aeruginosa. Traditional water disinfectants based on chlorine chemistry’s are also effective against Pseudomonas Aeruginosa in a free floating planktonic state however when protected by an established biofilm are less effective at penetrating and removing all biofilm layers completely (at regulation compliant dose levels).
After biofilm removal, EndoSan can also be continuously dosed into a water system at a low residual level to prevent biofilms from reforming. EndoSan is safe for consumption at these levels and is an NSF/ANSI/CAN 60 standard certificated drinking water treatment chemical.
Unlike EndoSan, chlorine-based disinfectants are known to produce disinfection by-products like trihalomethanes (THMs) and halocetic acids (HAA). Peer reviewed research has shown that long term exposure to THMs is associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.
EndoSan is a stabilised hydrogen peroxide product that forms no harmful disinfection by-products and its stabilisation allows for sustained, powerful oxidising inactivation of micro-organisms in water. Peer reviewed research has also concluded that hydrogen peroxide is considered one of the most effective agents at removing biofilms at low concentration levels due to its depolymerizing properties. 
For more information about EndoSan and water treatment, please call us on +44 1925 747 101, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in our contact form and a member of the team will be in touch.
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