Pseudomonas bacteria may trigger a lung infection when an individual is exposed to contaminated water or has oral contact with hospital equipment, such as breathing tubes, according to Merck Manuals. People with debilitating diseases and weakened immune function have a high risk of contracting the infection.
The Pseudomonas genus consists of a group of bacteria commonly found in soil, water and other moist environments, Healthline states. Most infections are caused by the Pseudomonas aeruginos variant, which manifests as pneumonia when it develops in the lungs. Individuals may suffer from symptoms such as a mucus-producing cough, fever, chills and difficulty breathing. Healthy people often carry the bacteria, but rarely experience any symptoms.
Treating pneumonia typically requires injecting antibiotics into the bloodstream, Merck Manuals notes. Doctors may perform trial runs with a combination of antibiotics to determine which medications are most effective at fighting Pseudomonas, which is often highly resistant.
Pseudomonas is one of the leading causes of pathogenic infections in hospitals, according to Healthline. In addition to the lungs, the bacteria can affect virtually any area of the body, including the skin, blood, eyes and ears. Staff may inadvertently spread bacteria when handling hospital equipment, especially when supplies aren't cleaned and sterilized correctly. Conditions such as HIV, AIDS and cystic fibrosis can make individuals more susceptible, and patients with invasive devices, such as ventilators and catheters, are also vulnerable.