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What is Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Prognosis

What is Pseudomonas Aeruginosa?

Pseudomonas is a bacteria type that is found commonly in our atmosphere, such as water and soil.(1) Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the different types of Pseudomonas that commonly causes infections in humans. This bacterium can cause infections in the lungs (pneumonia), blood and other parts of the body post-surgery.(2)

Who is at Risk for Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections?

Patients in the hospitals are at the highest risk for developing Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections; especially those patients who are on ventilators; with catheters; and suffering wounds from burns or surgery.(1, 3)

What is Meant by Antibiotic Resistance?

Pseudomonas bacteria are genius when it comes to avoiding the effects of the antibiotics given for the infections they cause. When these bacteria do not respond or get killed by the antibiotic, then there is development of antibiotic resistance. Multidrug-resistant develops when the Pseudomonas bacteria become resistant to various types of antibiotics.(3, 4)

What are the Symptoms of Pseudomonas Infections?

Skin infections are less severe when compared to Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections occurring in the lungs or blood. Symptoms depend on the site of infection and include:

Symptoms of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection in Lungs

Pneumonia is the infection of the lungs with symptoms consisting of: fever, chills difficulty breathing and cough with or without sputum production.

Symptoms of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection in Blood

Bacteremia is the bacterial infection of the blood and is one of the severest Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections with symptoms consisting of: fever, fatigue, chills, muscle and joint pain. Bacteremia resulting from pseudomonas can also lead to hemodynamic shock (extremely low blood pressure), that in turn leads to failure of organs.

Symptoms of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection in Ear

Symptoms of ear infection caused by Pseudomonas Aeruginosa include: ear pain, swelling, ear discharge, itching inside the ear and difficulty hearing.

Symptoms of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection in Skin

The hair follicles are the most affected in skin infection with Pseudomonas Aeruginosa (folliculitis) with symptoms consisting of: skin redness, abscess formation and draining wounds.

Symptoms of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection in Eyes

Eye infection due to Pseudomonas Aeruginosa produces symptoms such as: pain, inflammation, swelling, pus, redness and impaired vision.

How Do Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections Spread?

Pseudomonas aeruginosa are commonly found in our environment and get transmitted to people in healthcare settings upon exposure to soil or water contaminated with these bacteria. Resistant strains of Pseudomonas can also be transmitted from one person to another via contaminated hands, surfaces or equipment.

Can You Prevent Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections?

To prevent Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections; caregivers and patients should do the following:(1)

  • Always keep your hands clean to avoid spreading germs and getting sick.
  • Before and after caring for the wounds, it is important to wash hands with soap and water. Alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be used for this purpose.
  • It is important to clean the patient’s room daily.
  • It never hurts to remind the caregivers and healthcare providers to sanitize their hands before handling medical devices and touching the patient.
  • It is mandatory for healthcare providers to heed the recommended infection control practices, such as environmental cleaning and hand hygiene to cut down the risk of spreading Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infection to the patients.

Other than this, water management plans should be made so that the water quality is ensured and thus the risk of exposure to Pseudomonas aeruginosa is reduced.

What is the Treatment for Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infections?

Antibiotics are the main line of treatment for Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections. However, Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections in patients admitted to hospitals or nursing homes; and healthcare workers are becoming increasingly difficult to treat because of the increasing antibiotic resistance to this bacterium.

To identify the most suitable antibiotic for treating a particular infection, the physician will send the patient’s specimen (sputum, urine, blood etc.) for culture to find out which antibiotics the bacteria is most sensitive to. Depending on the culture and sensitivity test and depending on the potential side effects and drug interactions, the doctor will choose the right antibiotic for the patient to treat Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infection. Unfortunately, there are limited treatment options for patients suffering from multidrug-resistant types of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection.

What is the Prognosis for Patients Suffering from Pseudomonas Aeruginosa Infection?

The prognosis of patients suffering from pseudomonas aeruginosa infection depends on the severity of the infection and how soon the correct treatment is started. Skin and ear infections are usually mild. Severe Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infections can be life threatening if not treated on time.

With the right treatment and the right antibiotic, the prognosis of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa infection is good.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 10, 2020

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