Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a type of bacteria found commonly in the environment. It is found frequently in people that are quite sick. It’s also part of the naturally occurring microbial flora in many people. I’ve seen this type of bacteria in the stool test of people who aren’t in hospital but are quite sick with autoimmune conditions.
A primary risk factor for developing a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection is immunocompromise. People who are not quite well, to begin with, have a much higher chance of acquiring a Pseudomonas problem. For example, people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or cystic fibrosis are prone to Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections of the lung. In these cases, the infections can prove fatal.
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Pseudomonas can also be fatal if it enters the bloodstream or infects the kidney. Clearly, there are certain parts of the body that you want to be very protected from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. People with AIDS or other types of illnesses with poor immune function are at higher than average risk of developing a Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.
Pseudomonas is also implicated in nosocomial infections. Nosocomial infections are those that are acquired in the hospital. It’s an unfortunate truth that sometimes people are in the hospital to get better but instead develop a severe illness, such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found in operating rooms, on medical instruments, on indwelling catheters, and other hospital equipment if sterilization isn’t occurring correctly.