Biology Forum Microbiology Bacteria w/ Antibiotic Treatment

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    • #16079

      A child with a bloodborne Neisseria infection was treated with gentamicin.
      After treatment, Neisseria could not be cultured from her
      blood, indicating that the bacteria were killed. However, her symptoms
      became worse. Annually, nearly half of similar patients die.
      Explain why antibiotic treatment made her symptoms increase.

      Is it because the antibiotic kills the bacteria?

    • #109628

      I think it is because the dead bacteria, which are intracellular when alive, are degraded, and their LPS (the lipid A moiety specifically) is presented on the cells to the immune system, causing an endotoxin response.

    • #109642

      Yes – the LPS (endotoxin) release from killing all the bacteria so quickly has bad effects on your immune system, in the form of endotoxic shock. This is generally the case to at least some degree for any Gram negative bacterium, not just Neisseria or intracellular ones. As a result, such infections are treated with bacteriostatic antibiotics instead.

    • #115484
      Jose M V

      I don’t know why the patient died. But I think after the bacteria killed due to antibiotic, immune system rapidly clear the endotoxin.

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