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Diseases Caused by Bacteria

Diseases Caused by Bacteria

Bacteria are defined as unicellular or multicellular microorganisms that lack cell organelles and a true nucleus. Categorised as prokaryotes, millions of varieties of bacteria surround us, both outside and inside our bodies. Some of these are beneficial to the environment, while others are harmful. Similarly, bacteria also cause harm and benefit to the human body. The harmful ones are referred to as disease-causing or pathogen bacteria. They are of concern due to constant evolution, which has imparted their resistance against drugs, with a very common example being tuberculosis. 

Table of Contents:

Causes of Bacterial Diseases 

There are numerous possibilities for contracting bacterial diseases, such as:

  • Sharing: Through sharing contaminated food and water, needles and surgical equipment
  • Contact: Through sexual contact or bodily mixing of infected fluids or faeces. It can also occur through mosquito bites.
  • Infection: Through direct damage caused by bacteria to the body cells or tissues. They may also harm indirectly by eliciting an immune response. 
  • Toxin: By releasing bacterial endotoxins on their death or coming in contact with an outer layer of bacteria. They may also release toxins into the body. 

Symptoms of Bacterial Diseases

The common symptoms proving the occurrence of bacterial infections include the following:

  • Frequent or painful urination
  • Blood passing during urination
  • Diarrhoea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flu symptoms, along with body aches in different parts of the body
  • Neck stiffness
  • Weakness 
  • Irritability
  • Rashes and lesions 

Common Bacterial Diseases

Some of the common bacterial diseases and their causative agents are:

Human Bacterial Diseases



Vibrio cholera


Corynebacterium diphtheriae


Clostridium botulinum


Mycobacterium leprosy


Clostridium tetani


Yersinia pestis


Salmonella enteritis


Mycobacterium tuberculosis


Neisseria gonorrhoeae


Treponema pallidum

Risk Factors of Bacterial Diseases

The highest risk of bacterial disease is in the people such as:

  • Malnourished people
  • Eating uncooked food, egg, meat 
  • Eating without washing the food
  • Suffering from chronic or infectious diseases
  • Immunodeficiency disorders 
  • Infants and children
  • Genetic factors 

Treatment of Bacterial Diseases

The treatment can occur through two types of antibiotics:

  • Bacteriocidal drugs: To kill the bacteria. For example, ciprofloxacin and penicillin
  • Bacteriostatic drug: To prevent bacterial multiplication or increase in number. For example, clindamycin and chloramphenicol

The specific dosage of antibiotics is recommended to completely kill the bacterial population and provide effective treatment. Despite it, sometimes microbes do not die, and infection persists due to the evolution of microbes to combat the drug and prevent themselves from their harmful action. It is of major concern and a highly researched topic. 

Prevention of Bacterial Diseases 

Bacterial diseases are comparatively easier to manage than viral diseases. However, prevention is highly important to avoid any compromise with health. Some of the measures important for prevention are: 

  • Complete and timely vaccination 
  • Properly washing and cooking the food
  • Consume fresh food
  • Use of surface disinfectants regularly 
  • Use new needles and properly sterilised surgical equipment
  • Regular washing of the hands 
  • Maintaining proper hygiene 
  • Avoid unprotected sexual intercourse 
  • Avoid public places if you are infected or ill, or use proper protection while heading out if necessary. 
  • Avoid sharing personal items with others 

Practice Problems

Q1. Which of these are used to treat bacterial diseases? 

A. Antiparasitic medications
B. Antiviral medications
C. Antipyretics
D. Antibiotics

Answer. D. Antibiotics

Antibiotics are used to hamper bacterial metabolism or structure to kill the microbe.

Q2. Why do antibiotics not function against certain bacteria?

A. Due to antimicrobial resistance
B. Due to the evasion mechanism generated by microbes
C. Due to the evolution of bacteria
D. All of these

Answer:  D. All of these

The options state antimicrobial resistance with reasons. 

Q3. What do vaccines contain?

A. Weakened microorganisms
B. Killed microorganisms
C. No microorganisms
D. Either a or b

Answer: D. Either a or b

The non-pathogenic forms of microbes do not cause disease but elicit the immune response required to impart immunity.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the BCG vaccine?
BCG or Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine comprises weakened microbes to treat Tuberculosis infection. It is given till the specific age of six months. 

Q2. Which bacteria cause food poisoning?
The bacteria Clostridium botulinum causes food poisoning in humans. Some strains of clostridium cause several other diseases like tetanus and gangrene, while few benefit the human body. 

Q3. What are the types of toxins?
The two types of toxins are endotoxin and exotoxin. Endotoxins are released within the bacteria, while exotoxins are released outside the bacteria.

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