Bacteremia is the presence of bacteria in the blood.

The reasons

The penetration of the pathogen into the blood is noted in many infectious diseases and is an integral or probable component of their development.

Mild, short-term bacteremia can also occur even when a person clenched their jaws, since the bacteria living on the gums within the teeth enter the bloodstream. Bacteria often enter the bloodstream from the intestines, but they are quickly destroyed as the blood passes through the liver.

The number of microorganisms per unit volume of blood depends on the virulence of the pathogen and the resistance of the organism of the diseased. With prolonged and severe bacteremia, generalized and, in particular, septic forms of the infectious process are traditionally formed.


Since a small number of bacteria can be dealt with quickly by the body, symptoms of temporary bacteremia are rare. However, as soon as sepsis develops, chills occur, body temperature rises, weakness, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are detected.

If you do not start treatment, then the pathogens spread throughout the body and the so-called metastatic foci of infection are formed.

The consequence of this may be meningitis – inflammation of the meninges, pericarditis – inflammation of the outer lining of the heart, endocarditis – inflammation of the inner lining of the heart, osteomyelitis – inflammation of the bone tissue. With sepsis, abscesses (collections of pus) can occur throughout the body.


In a person who has a focus of infection in any organ, the body temperature suddenly rises sharply. If sepsis develops, the number of leukocytes in the blood traditionally increases significantly. To identify the “guilty” microorganism, blood cultures are performed. However, it is difficult to isolate bacteria in a blood culture, especially if a person is taking antibiotics. For sowing, sputum material is also taken from the lungs, urine, discharge from wounds and from the sites of catheter insertion.


Bacteremia associated with surgery or the insertion of a urinary catheter does not traditionally require any treatment, especially if the catheter is quickly removed. However, people who are at increased risk of developing inflammation in response to bacteremia, such as those with heart valve disease or a weakened immune system, are given prophylactic antibiotics before such procedures.

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