It's all about germs

We are surrounded by an incredible number of germs every day and they are also very active in our bodies. We also need them there so that our organism "runs smoothly". But there are germs that can harm us - we get sick. Most of the time, our body can defend itself quite well against infections thanks to the immune system, but as the saying goes: "Prevention is better than cure!"

With this article we want to give a little insight into the world and diversity of germs - bacteria, fungi, viruses. What is it that crawls and flies on surfaces or infects us through the air? How can we become infected and how long do these beasts survive?

Name: Escherichia coli (E. coli)

Species: Bacterium

Symptoms: There are "harmless" E. coli bacteria that are part of the normal human intestinal flora. The harmful variants can cause urinary tract infections, severe diarrhoea, wound and respiratory infections and blood poisoning. The bacteria are also the most frequent causes of infections after operations, so-called nosocomial infections.

Transmission: Transmission occurs through the ingestion of minute traces of faeces via direct or indirect contact with contaminated persons, animals or objects. Inadequately heated food or contaminated water, even when bathing, can also cause infections. The incubation period is three to five days.

Survival: 1.5 hours to 16 months

Name: Salmonella

Species: Bacterium

Symptoms: Typical food poisoning with severe diarrhoea

Transmission: Transmission occurs through direct contact with infected persons or indirectly through contaminated food or via surfaces. Classic examples of sources of infection are insufficiently heated eggs or poultry, raw meat or ice cream. However, the bacteria can also get into the food via contaminated kitchen equimpent (e.g. cutting boards).

Survival: 1 day up to 4 years

Name: Candida albicans

Type: Yeast fungus

Symptoms: The yeast fungus normally permanently colonises mucous membranes in the mouth and intestines as well as the skin. In healthy people, however, the immune system has the fungus well under control. With a weakened immune system, skin infections occur, but infestation of the internal organs or sepsis are also possible consequences.

Transmission: Through direct or indirect contact with infected skin or surfaces

Survival: 1 day to 4 months

Name: Corona (COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2)

Type: Virus

Symptoms: Mild cold symptoms with cough, fever, cold, loss of smell and taste, up to severe pneumonia with lung failure, but sometimes no symptoms at all despite infection.

Transmission: High risk of infection through droplet infection or aerosols produced when breathing, coughing, speaking, singing and sneezing, as well as through surfaces.

Survival: up to 28 days

To be continued...



129008289 @ AdobeStock

Published: 4. February 2021 (Update: 1. March 2021)

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