What Are Bacteria?

August 15, 2011

What are Bacteria?Bacteria are tiny microorganisms that exist inside and outside the body, and throughout the environment (food, surfaces, in the air…). The vast majority of bacteria aren’t bad for you. “Pathogen” refers to any bacteria, virus, fungi, parasite, etc. that can infect the body (causing disease).

Most pathogenic bacteria are transmitted through the fecal-oral route. When hands, sheets, or clothes aren’t washed/thoroughly washed, small, possibly not visible amounts of feces or bacteria from feces are transferred to other people’s skin/hands. If food is then prepared, or if that person touches there face, or eats with their hands (etc.) they ingest that bacteria.

Bacteria can also be spread by animals, mostly through ranching practices where feces from the animal contaminates the meat. Whenever eating meat with an unknown origin, make sure it is cooked throughly before consuming. (Raw and undercooked meat may not just have bacteria on the surface, but parasites within).

If the immune system is not strong enough to kill/remove the invading pathogens, the person becomes infected. Most diseases spread through the fecal-oral route resemble the stomach flu, with stomach trouble lasting anywhere from a day to several weeks.

What are Bacteria?

Bacteria are single-celled organisms. Penicillin, the first antibiotic as we think of them today, is based on the fact that fungi can kill bacteria (and vice versa). Some, but not all, prescribed antibiotics are made with fungi.

Did you know?… The bacteria that cause food spoilage don’t make you sick! Pathogenic bacteria are more likely to be taste and scent-less, they also proliferate at warmer temperatures, whereas spoilage bacteria slowly destroy the food in your fridge. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to eat spoiled food!

What other questions do you have about bacteria/pathogens?

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