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 Acinetobacter species – Gram-negative bacilli.

Causes a variety of diseases, ranging from pneumonia to serious blood

or wound infections, and the symptoms vary depending on the disease. Acinetobacter may also “colonize” or live in a
patient without causing infection or symptoms, especially in tracheostomy sites or open wounds. Acinetobacter
baumannii is becoming more important in hospital infections due to its antibiotic resistance.
 Bacillus anthracis – Gram-positive, endospore forming bacilli. Causes anthrax, a common and deadly disease in cattle
and a potential bioweapon against humans. Infection occurs in three forms: Cutaneous (affecting the skin),
Inhalational (in the lungs), and Gastrointestinal (in the digestive tract)
 Brucella abortus – Gram-negative bacilli. Causes breeding losses in livestock. Can be transferred from animal to
human host.
 Campylobacter species– Gram-negative vibrio. Causes intestinal infections which are generally mild, but can be fatal
among very young children, elderly and immunosuppressed individuals. It normally inhabits the intestinal tract of
warm-blooded animals such as poultry and cattle, and is frequently detected in foods derived from these animals.
 Carbapenemase-Producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE) – Gram-negative bacteria. Extremely antibiotic resistant
bacteria because they produce the enzyme Carbapenemase which disables the drug molecule. They include common
pathogens such as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus sp. and Enterobacter sp. These organisms are
some of the most common causes of many infections such as urinary tract infections, intra-abdominal infections and
bloodstream infections.
 Clostridium botulinum– Gram-positive anaerobic spore forming bacilli. Produce neurotoxins that cause botulism.
Botulism is characterized by blurred vision, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness and dry mouth. In
infants, the symptoms can also be lethargy and constipation. Without treatment, botulism can lead to paralysis of the
arms, legs and respiratory muscles.
 Clostridium difficile– Gram-positive anaerobic spore forming bacilli. Often called C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause
symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon. It is difficult to prevent the spread of
the illness due to the spores. Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long-term
care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications.
 Clostridium tetani – Gram-positive anaerobic spore forming bacilli. The bacteria enters the body via puncture wounds
and releases a powerful toxin causing the illness Tetanus, often called Lockjaw. Symptoms include muscle stiffness
starting in the jaw, then the neck and arms, legs and abdomen. This illness is preventable by a vaccination.
 Cyanobacteria – Formerly incorrectly known as blue-green algae. Live in water, where they produce obtain energy
through photosynthesis, thus producing large amounts of oxygen in the environment. They can occur in single cells,
filaments of cells or colonies. Some blooms produce nerve or liver toxins.
 Escherichia coli (a.k.a. E. coli) – Gram-negative bacilli. Found in the environment, food, and intestines of animals and
humans, where it helps digest food and produces Vitamin K. The “bad” strain of E. coli, O157:H7 causes severe
foodborne illness.
 Klebsiella species – Gram-negative bacilli. Routinely found in the human nose, mouth, and gastrointestinal tract as
normal flora; however, they can also behave as opportunistic human pathogens. Klebsiella pneumoniae can cause
pneumonia, meningitis, and urinary tract infections.
 Lactobacillus bulgaricus – Gram-positive bacilli. Helps turn milk into cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products.
Additionally, this bacteria helps to prevent food borne illness from other bacteria by neutralizing toxins and killing
harmful bacteria by producing its own natural antibiotics.
 Legionella sp. – Gram-negative bacilli. The agent of Legionnaire’s disease and Pontiac fever. It is primarily caused
by Legionella pneumophila. Currently there are fifty species of Legionella. Legionella occurs naturally in freshwater
environments, including lakes, mud and streams. In building systems, it colonizes cooling towers, evaporative
condensers, showers, recreational waters (spas) and fountains.
 Listeria monocytogenes – Gram-positive bacilli. It is the agent of listeriosis, a serious infection caused by eating food
contaminated with the bacteria. The disease affects primarily pregnant women, newborns, and adults with weakened
immune systems.
 Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) – Gram-positive cocci. An infection can begin as a minor skin
sore and become a serious infections. It is difficult to treat because it is resistant to numerous antibiotics.
 Mycobacterium tuberculosis – Bacilli that are not categorized as Gram-positive or Gram-negative, instead categorized
as Acid-Fast. Causes tuberculosis, a major killer from the past that has recently resurged with the advent of AIDS.
 Pseudomonas aeruginosa – Gram-negative bacilli. Infections usually occur in people in the hospital and/or with
weakened immune systems. Infections of the blood, pneumonia, and infections following surgery can lead to severe
illness and death in these people. Healthy people can also develop this infection when exposed to inadequately
chlorinated hot tubs or pools.
 Rhizobium leguminosarum – Gram-negative bacilli. Induces nitrogen-fixing nodules on the roots of legumes such as
peas, beans, clover and alfalfa to convert free nitrogen into a form the plant can use.
 Salmonella species – Gram-negative bacilli. Salmonella bacteria typically live in animal and human intestines and are
shed through feces. Humans become infected most frequently through contaminated water or food. Symptoms may
include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps between 12 and 72 hours after infection. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7
days, and most individuals recover without treatment.
 Staphylococcus(a.k.a. Staph) – Gram-positive cocci. Most are harmless and reside on human skin and mucous
membranes of humans. Some species, such as Staphylococcus aureus can cause serious skin infections and food
borne illness.
 Streptococcus pneumoniae – Gram-positive cocci. Causes pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and meningitis.
 Streptococcus pyogenes – Gram-positive cocci. One of the most frequent human pathogens. Causes Strep throat,
Scarlet Fever, Impetigo and Cellulitis.
 Streptomyces griseus – Gram-positive spore forming bacilli. Found in the soil and produces the powerful antibiotic
Streptomycin, which kills both the bacterium that causes the plague and the bacterium that causes tuberculosis.
 Thermus aquaticus – Gram-negative bacilli. A heat-loving bacterium from which scientists extracted the enzyme Taq
polymerase which is used in molecular biology to amplify DNA through PCR (polymerase chain reaction).
 Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE) – Gram-positive cocci. Enterococci that have developed resistance to many
antibiotics such as vancomycin and can cause serious infections, especially in people who are ill or weak. These
infections can occur anywhere in the body. Some common sites include the intestines, the urinary tract, and wounds.
 Vibrio sp. – Gram-negative vibrio. Found in saltwater sources and several species of Vibrio are pathogens. Consuming
food that is contaminated by Vibrio can result in diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramping. Vibrio can also cause
serious life-threatening infections with those having a compromised immune system. Strains of Vibrio are known to
cause gastroenteritis and septicemia, and Vibrio cholerae is known to cause cholera in humans.