Bacterial blood infection (sepsis), SEM

Bacterial blood infection (sepsis), SEM

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Credit: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Bacterial blood infection caused by a rod shaped bacterium, scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Short chains of a bacillus bacterium amongst the red blood cells and platelets from the circulatory system. When a strain of harmful bacteria gets into the bloodstream, the resulting infection is called bacterial sepsis, or bacteraemia (commonly known as blood poisoning). Multiplication of the harmful bacteria in the blood stream can cause death. When there is a high amount of toxins produced by bacteria in the blood, a septic shock may occur. Septic shock is a highly dangerous condition in which body tissues are damaged. This kind of infection can be serious, but it can usually be successfully treated with antibiotics, if caught early. Use of vaccines against the most common bacteria that cause infections, has made bacterial sepsis less common. Blood infections (septicaemia) start at the site of a wound or infection. Magnification: x1,600 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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