What are coccobacilli? – Learn the characteristics and function of cocobacilli
In the cellular world, there are prokaryotic bacteria, this type of cell shows a great variety in morphologythe most common are rounded bacteria (coccus) and others elongated (bacillus).
Of these usual forms, there are different variations and combinations, such as cocobacilli. which is a small cane and oval in outline, however, the morphological distinction of these does not provide additional information about their biology.
Definition and concept of cocobacillus
To define cocobacilli it is important to explain how they are classified according to their morphology, cell wall and other criteria. Coccobacillus are a large group of bacteria that are characterized by their rounded rod shape.
Although both gram positives can be found, for example the genus Actinomycesmost of these microbes are gram negative.
Despite their shape, they are also classified based on other criteria, such as their need for oxygenits ability to ferment sugars and its ability to produce spores.
According to their need for oxygen, they can be classified as aerobic (they require oxygen), as is mainly the Bordetella pertussisor anaerobic (do not require oxygen).
Where are cocobacilli found?
The cocobacillary flora can appear as normal flora in various parts of the body, it is possible to find it among the regular flora in the vagina and intestine. However, an imbalance in the proliferation of these can lead to pathologies such as bacterial vaginosisamong other.
The epidemiology of these diseases, which are caused by coccobacilli, will vary according to its species and geographical location. As it is, for example, in the case of brucellosis there is a higher incidence in developing countries such as Africa, Latin America and some parts of Asia.
On the contrary, in the case of infections by Haemophilus which are more frequent in various developed countries.
What are the characteristics of cocobacilli?
Some of these characteristics are:
- coccobacilli are bacteria which have a shape between rods and a small sphere (coconut), when observed under the microscope they can be seen as small rounded rods or with a slight curve.
- These microorganisms can be both gram positive as gram negativethe Gram stain refers to the staining that a microorganism takes when subjected to different tests.
- This will react to them by taking, or not, the stain, this ability to take it is due to the presence of a protein known as peptidoglycan in its cell wall.
- Multiple coccobacilli are found in the normal flora from various parts of the body, they can serve either a beneficial function or act as a pathogen, depending on their variety and location.
What diseases and symptoms do coccobacilli cause?
The most common coccobacilli include Haemophilus influenzae, this bacterium is a pathogen of great importance for humans. Since this is the cause of various diseases of the upper and lower respiratory tract, such as pneumonia, among others.
It is also one of the causative agents of various pathologies of the nervous system, as is the case of bacterial meningitis, among the symptoms related to bacterial meningitis we find:
- High and intense fevers
- Stiff neck
- Photosensitivity (sensitivity to light)
Haemophilus influenzae can also cause throat infectionsnose and lungs, more frequently in children or older adults, as well as in people with a weakened immune system.
In the case of pneumonia, among the main symptoms that can occur are:
- Fever and chills
- Dyspnea (breathing difficulty)
- Cough, usually productive (with phlegm)
- Chest pain when coughing or breathing
- Vomiting and/or Nausea
- General discomfort
- Most infections caused by this microbe can be treated with a variety of antibiotics.
Another of the most common coccobacilli found in the body is Gardnerella vaginaliswhich is a facultative anaerobe, its proliferation is related to bacterial vaginosis.
In the case of bacterial vaginosis, the most frequent symptoms that appear are:
- Leucorrhoea (white vaginal discharge)
- Fish smell
- Itching (itching) or burning in the vagina
For the diagnosis of cocobacilli, one can employ various techniquesIn medicine, various diagnostic methods are available, such as bacterial culture.
In this test, a blood sample is taken cerebrospinal fluid or some bodily secretion and applied to a culture medium. All this in order for bacteria to grow and reproduce.
Other diagnostic methods include pap smearby means of which a cellular sample of the cervix is obtained, this sample is fixed on a sheet and sent to the laboratory.
It is studied under the microscope, which allows detect cell abnormalitiescervical lesions and the presence of coccobacillary flora, among others.
There is a wide variety of cocobacilli, in addition to those mentioned it is also common to find Chlamydia trachomatiswhich is the cause of various urinary tract infections.
There is also the bacteria actinomycetem comitans which is found in the normal flora of the mouth and when it proliferates in a pathogenic way it is the causative agent of periodontitis.
Bordetella pertussis is the causative agent of whooping cough, characterized by violent coughing episodes. And finally you find Yersinia pestiswhich was the cause of multiple pandemics and a large number of deaths, since it is the etiological agent of the bubonic plague.
It is important to mention that although some coccobacilli become pathogenic and cause disease in humans, there are also species that are beneficial and can help maintain the body’s health. For example, the lactobacilli They are a type of coccobacillus found in the vaginal flora that can help prevent infections and maintain the pH balance in the vagina. Lactobacilli are also used as probiotics, to improve intestinal health.
How are cocobacilli transmitted?
The transmission of these pathogens can vary according to their species and causative infection, among the most frequent forms are mentioned:
- Direct contact: With infected objects or by transmission through sexual intercourse.
- Particle Transmission (Flügge Droplets): When an infected person sneezes or coughs, these particles travel through the air, colonizing the respiratory tract of a healthy individual.
- By consume contaminated food or water
- Vertical transmission (from mother to child): By contact of the newborn with an infection in the birth canal.
What is the treatment for cocobacilli?
The treatment for these pathogens will depend on the infection causedTherefore, there is great variability between the pharmacological choices to choose for its elimination.
The treatment will be based on the following steps:
- The use of antibiotics It will be the first line of treatment for these microorganisms, so its administration will be indicated in a timely manner.
- The type of antibiotic used Depends on the type of bacteria and the severity of the infection. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions on the use and dosage of antibiotics.
- It is possible that in some cases the use of medications for relieve symptoms of the infection. These symptoms include fever, pain and general malaise, which is why different NSAID-type drugs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory analgesic) would be used.
- In some cases, as in sexually transmitted infections, actions can be taken to prevent the spread of infection. This includes using condoms during sex and getting tested regularly for infections.
It is crucial to remember that when infection with this pathogen is suspected, must be diagnosed and properly treated by a doctor.
Must be avoid self-medication, since the inappropriate use of antibiotics can lead to the development of bacterial resistance. This would complicate the symptoms and treatment of the disease.
In the same way, you must remember that the indicated treatment must be completed by the appointed time by the health professional, even if the symptoms disappear sooner, in this way you can ensure that the infection is completely eliminated from your body.