Infections caused by anaerobic bacteria are common, and may be serious and life-threatening. Anaerobes predominant in the bacterial flora of normal human skin and mucous membranes, and are a common cause of bacterial infections of endogenous origin. Infections due to anaerobes can evolve all body systems and sites. The predominate ones include: abdominal, pelvic, respiratory, and skin and soft tissues infections. Because of their fastidious nature, they are difficult to isolate and are often overlooked. Failure to direct therapy against these organisms often leads to clinical failures. Their isolation requires appropriate methods of collection, transportation and cultivation of specimens. Treatment of anaerobic bacterial infection is complicated by the slow growth of these organisms, which makes diagnosis in the laboratory only possible after several days, by their often polymicrobial nature and by the growing resistance of anaerobic bacteria to antimicrobial agents.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Vagina flora and its influence on women's health and disease

Explorations of the vaginal flora started over 150 years ago. Using light microscopy and bacterial cultures, the concept of normal versus abnormal flora in women began to emerge. The latter became known by the term "bacterial vaginosis" . Bacterial vaginosis flora is dominated by Gardnerella vaginalis and includes a number of anaerobic organisms. In contrast, normal flora is dominated by various Lactobacilli. Bacterial vaginosis flora is associated with vaginal discharge, poor pregnancy outcomes, pelvic inflammatory disease, postoperative wound infections and endometritis after elective abortions. In addition, bacterial vaginosis flora predisposes women to infection by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted diseases.  

The small and short Gram-negative rodes are clustered onto the squamous epithelium forming        “clue cells”, typical of Garderella vaginalis infection

The application of molecular techniques over the past decade has significantly advanced the understanding of the vaginal flora. It is much more complex than previously recognized and is composed of many previously unknown organisms in addition to those already identified by culture. Analyses using high-throughput sequencing techniques have lead to the discovery of unique microbial communities not previously recognized within the older, established vaginal flora categories. These new findings will inform the design of future clinical investigations of the role of the vaginal flora in health and disease.

                                                       Lactobacillus species 

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