Blood Infection

An Overview

Blood infection is a condition wherein the blood cells and blood plasma get infected by pathogens and toxins. There are many blood infection types, but the most common among them is known as sepsis or septicemia. The term sepsis blood infection is often confused with blood disorders, which are conditions that are mostly genetic and non-contagious in nature, like hemophilia and thrombocytopenia. When referring to blood infections, the terms ‘sepsis’ and ‘septicemia’ are often interchangeably used, but the two words are slightly different in their meanings. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites can infect your bloodstream.

Bacteria can enter through wounds or travel to your blood from another infection such as urinary tract infection or pneumonia. Viruses such as dengue virus, influenza virus, polio virus, hepatitis B virus, and HIV and parasites like Trypanosoma brucei and Plasmodium can also invade your bloodstream. A blood infection can become fatal if not promptly diagnosed and treated.

Types of Blood Infections 

• Bacteria blood infection: septicemia
• Viral blood infection: viremia
• Fungal blood infection: fungemia
• Parasitic blood infection

Bacterial Blood Infection: Septicemia 

A wide range of bacteria can enter your bloodstream. And though bacteria may infect you through a wound or burn, septicemia often results from another infection such as a urinary tract infection or pneumonia. Once it gets in the blood, bacteria can travel to other organs and tissues and damage them. Septicemia is more likely to develop in young children or older people as their immune systems may not be strong enough to resist the bacteria. A compromised immune system or recent surgery can also up your risk.

Causes 

In some cases of people with very low immunity, even fungi or viruses can be responsible for septicemia. Often, septicemia spreads from an infected nidus (the central point of an infection), which can either be a major organ, or simply an infected cut or wound, which acts as a portal for the entry of microbes. Pneumonia is an example of a blood infection, where there is a state of septicemia that arises from the lungs. Blood urinary tract infection is one of the other relatively milder types.

Symptoms

  •  Fever is often the most evident sign of septicemia. High fever is commonly observed, accompanied by chills.
  • The patient may have tachycardia (higher heart rate) and paced breathing.
  •  The patient may get severe headaches and maybe very irritable, disoriented, and confused.
  •  There may be visible skin reactions, like rashes, which may be confined to a certain region, or may spread all over the body, depending on the severity of the condition and the immunity of the patient.

Viral Blood Infection: Viremia

Viruses can invade your body when you inhale them in – it could be droplets from the cough or sneeze of someone with an airborne infection. You could also swallow them by having contaminated food or water or be infected through insect bites or through sexual contact.They can enter your blood through capillaries and replicate in cells that line your blood vessels. And once in your blood, these viruses have access to almost every tissue in your body. A virus is a tiny, microscopic organism made of genetic material inside a protein coating. Viruses depend on a living host, like a human or animal, for survival. They survive by invading cells and using those cells to multiply and produce other viruses. This is called viral replication.

Causes

Viremia is caused by a virus. Actually, many different types of viruses can cause viremia. A virus attaches to one of your cells, releases its DNA or RNA, takes control of the cell, and forces it to replicate the virus. Examples of viruses that enter the bloodstream include:

  • Dengue virus
  • West Nile virus
  • Rubella
  • Measles
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Epstein-Barr virus
  • HIV

Symptoms

The symptoms of viremia vary depending on which type of virus has entered the body. In general, viral infections cause the following symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Joint pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Chills
  • Fatigue

You may not get sick from a viral infection. Sometimes, your immune system can fight it off before you have any symptoms

Fungal Blood Infection: Fungemia

Many fungi like Aspergillus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae can cause fungemia.6 But the most common fungus that can infect your blood is Candida. This microorganism usually lives on your skin or gastrointestinal tract without causing any issues. Even when it does affect your health, it usually means minor infections like thrush and vaginal yeast infection. But in some people, fungi can enter the bloodstream and cause a potentially life-threatening infection. Sometimes humans and the microorganism live with each other without harming each other and no symptoms of the disease are developed when the human immune system takes action against the germs or the germs become so large in number that the body shows the symptoms of the disease.

Causes

Fungi are living organisms that feed on organic material. They lack chlorophyll, which is found in plant life, and they reproduce by spore production. Fungi are found in mold, mildew, mushrooms, rust and yeasts. Since they thrive in warm, moist, dark places, they are also found in jock itch, athlete’s foot and yeast infections of the vagina. You combat them every day by the balance of “good bacteria” in your body, but if your health is compromised, fungi can travel throughout your system by hitching a ride in your bloodstream.

Symptoms of Fungemia

Fungemia has a varying range of symptoms which may be mild or extreme. Fungemia can show many signs and symptoms.
These may include similar to those symptoms which occur in severe flow.
• Chronic fatigue may also be the system.
• Severe confusion.
• 0Non healing and persistent lesions and wounds.
• Unusual and irregular discharge.
• Sweating and itching.

Parasitic Blood Infection

There are many parasites that can invade the human body. Some of them are blood borne, meaning they are found in the blood rather than in tissues. These parasites can be transmitted from one person to another through exposure to infected blood (e.g. through blood transfusion or the sharing of a needle). Some parasites can invade your bloodstream and even spread through exposure to infected blood. Examples of such parasites include:

  • Trypanosoma brucei: Causes African trypanosomiasis or “sleeping sickness,” spread by the tsetse fly.9
  • Babesia: Causes babesiosis, spread by ticks.
  • Trypanosoma cruzi: Causes American trypanosomiasis or Chagas disease, transmitted by certain insect..

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