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Unnao Rape Survivor Battles Enterococcus faecalis Infection - Know More About This Condition

The condition of the Unnao rape survivor remains to be critical as she battles a severe blood infection. She met with a truck-car collision after which she was admitted in King George's Medical University (KGMU), Lucknow, and later shifted to the AIIMS in Delhi.

The report of a blood culture examination of the girl showed that she has a serious blood infection. The report came after she was shifted to AIIMS.

Source: Nwdistrict

The blood culture report showed that she was suffering from an infection caused by the Enterococcus bacteria. Enterococci are a type of bacteria that live in your gastrointestinal tract. There are at least 18 different species of these bacteria, one of these most common species is Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis).

What Is Enterococcus faecalis? [1]

Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) normally lives in your intestines without causing any harm. It also lives in the mouth and vagina. However, if it spreads to other parts of the body it can cause a serious infection. The bacterium can cause infection in people when it enters the blood, wounds, or urine.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), E. faecalis affects approximately 80 per cent of humans. It is a resilient bacteria which can survive in hot, salty, or acidic environments.

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What Causes E. faecalis Infection

Mostly people in hospitals are prone to E. faecalis infection. According to Dr Arya Krishnan, Chief Medical Officer at Sukino Continuum Care Center, "Poor hygiene in hospitals can increase the risk of spreading the bacteria and also weakened immune system leads to this bacterial infection".

She also said that, "The bacteria stays in the urinary catheters and intravascular lines (IV lines). As e. Faecal can grow in IV lines and urinary catheters, hospitalised patients are at high risk of developing this infection".

Source: Theatlantic

Symptoms Of E. faecalis Infection

  • Fever
  • Swollen, red, tender, or bleeding gums
  • Fatigue
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Pain or burning when you urinate
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stiff neck
  • Chest pain while breathing
  • Risk Factors Of E. faecalis Infection
  • Weakened immunity due to disease or surgery
  • If you are on a dialysis
  • If you are receiving an organ transplant
  • If you are undergoing cancer treatment
  • If you have had a root canal
  • If you have HIV or AIDS
  • Blood culture tests and urine culture tests are used for diagnosing E. faecalis infections.

Complications Of E. faecalis Infection

E. faecalis may cause a number of life-threatening infections which include the following:

  • Bacteremia - The presence of bacteria in the blood.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Abdominal and pelvic infections.
  • Endocarditis - An infection which occurs in the lining of the heart, called the endocardium.
  • Periodontitis, a type of gum infection.
  • Wound infections
  • Septicemia, or blood poisoning
  • Meningitis, an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord

Treatment Of E. faecalis Infection [2]

E. faecalis can resist antibiotic treatments because it possesses blood resistance mechanism to fight the medications, which doesn't allow the medicines to work on the body. This bacteria also resists many antibiotic treatments due to various reasons such as biofilm formation, inadequate nutrition needs, penicillin-binding protein (PBPs), and environmental folic acid formation.

Prevention Of E. Faecalis Infection

  • Wash your hands with warm water and soap after you use the washroom, and before you prepare or eat food.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if not using soap.
  • Don't share your spoons, forks, toothbrushes, or towels with anyone.
  • Wipe doorknobs, computer keyboards, and TV remote with an antibacterial disinfectant.
  • If you are in a hospital, ask that all thermometers, catheters, Ivs, blood pressure cuffs, and other devices should be disinfected.
  • Ensure that your healthcare workers wash their hands or wear clean gloves properly when you are in the hospital.
View Article References
  1. [1] Kau, A. L., Martin, S. M., Lyon, W., Hayes, E., Caparon, M. G., & Hultgren, S. J. (2005). Enterococcus faecalis tropism for the kidneys in the urinary tract of C57BL/6J mice. Infection and Immunity, 73(4), 2461-2468.
  2. [2] Daria Van Tyne, Abigail L. Manson, Mark M. Huycke, John Karanicolas, Ashlee M. Earl, Michael S. Gilmore. Impact of antibiotic treatment and host innate immune pressure on enterococcal adaptation in the human bloodstream. Science Translational Medicine, 2019; 11 (487): eaat8418