What is Proteus Mirabilis?
Proteus mirabilis is a kind of bacteria responsible for causing infections in your body. This bacterium mostly causes urinary tract infections and formation of stones1.
Proteus mirabilis belongs to the family of Enterobacteriaceae. It ferments maltose but not lactose. It is able to lengthen itself and produce a polysaccharide when it gets in touch with solid surfaces. This makes it easy for proteus mirabilis to attach to surfaces such as medical equipment2.
Proteus mirabilis has flagellum which is a slim thread-like structure found in many microorganisms that enable them to swim. Flagellum is associated with the capability of proteus mirabilis to make biofilms, which assists the bacteria to resist certain antibiotics and other defensive mechanisms.
Proteus mirabilis depends on its pili, which is a hair like appendage to adhere to your urinary tract in order to avoid being flushed out. In addition, proteus mirabilis has urease, which is a type of enzyme that converts urea into ammonium carbonate. Urease helps raise the pH in the host’s body so that the bacteria can thrive2.
Proteus Mirabilis Infections
Proteus mirabilis is responsible for a number of infections. These infections occur mostly to patients in hospitals. The infections are caused by contaminated or infected medical facilities. For example catheters used for injection or inhalation and gloves used for examining the wound can cause infections if they are infected. The following infections arise due to proteus mirabilis1, 2:
Urinary system infections
These are infections that occur in your bladder, kidneys and urethra. Urinary tract infections happens when bacteria enters the urinary system through the urethra. Despite your urinary system ability to eliminate these microorganisms, sometimes it fails to do so. This allows the bacteria to multiply and attack your urinary system and cause infections.
Proteus mirabilis is also the cause of urinary infections. Proteus mirabilis can adhere to the medical equipment such as urinary catheters and enter your body where they travel and reach your urinary system and cause an infection.
In addition, your digestive system is a home of many microorganisms. Proteus mirabilis is one of those microorganisms. In most cases, Proteus mirabilis does not cause any infections in your digestive system. But if these bacteria find its way into your urinary system it causes an infection.
There are several urinary infections that an individual can have. They include:
This is a type of infection that affects your urethra. Urethritis occurs when proteus mirabilis or any other bacteria move from the anus to urethra. In addition to proteus mirabilis, other infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause Urethritis.
This infection affects your bladder. Cystitis is caused by a bacterium called Escherichia coli found in your digestive system. Other bacteria such as proteus mirabilis cause this type of infection.
Sexual intercourse can also cause cystitis. However, you do not need to be sexually active to get this infection. Females are at higher risk of developing cystitis than men because of their anatomy.
Kidneys are a component of your urinary system. Its main function is to filter blood. Your kidney can get infected which can impair its functions. Urinary tract infections especially from the bladder can spread and affect your kidneys. Bacteria proteus mirabilis can spread and reach your kidney where they cause an infection. They can also form stones in your kidney.
This is a fatal disease that occurs when your immune system reacts to an infection. Normally, your immune system is responsible for defending your body against infection. But sometimes it can become overactive in its response to an infection.
This illness develops when antibodies released to fight infections cause inflammation in the whole of your body. This disease is responsible for many deaths when it is severe.
Sepsis occurs as a result of any infection. Proteus mirabilis can spread from an infected wound into your bloodstream where they cause an infection. Other causes of sepsis are kidney infections, pneumonia and abdominal infection.4
Systemic inflammatory response
This is a condition where there is inflammation in your body. Systemic inflammatory response can occur when your body overreacts to microorganisms in the body. Septic shock or severe sepsis forms blood clots which obstructs blood flow around the body. This deprives your body tissues and organs blood and oxygen which can lead to their death.
Besides septic shock, any form of trauma on your body can cause an inflammatory response. Bacteria such as proteus mirabilis can also enter your bloodstream and cause systemic inflammatory response syndrome.
This is an infection in one or both of your lungs. Pneumonia causes alveoli which are air sacs in your lungs to become inflamed. This illness can be caused by several microorganisms including viruses, funguses and bacteria. Streptococcus pneumonia and Chlamydophila pneumonia are the most common causes of pneumonia. But proteus mirabilis can also cause pneumonia if the bacteria invade your lungs.6
Most of pneumonia is infectious. It can spread from one person to another through infected air droplets from a cough or a sneeze. Bacterial and viral pneumonia are contagious but fungal pneumonia does not spread from one person to another.
Symptoms of Proteus Mirabilis Infections
Symptoms of proteus mirabilis infections depend on the type of illness. The following are symptoms based on the type of infection1, 2:
For urinary tract infections, the following are its symptoms:
- You will feel pain or burning when urinating. You will notice cloudy urine as you urinate. There is an increased urge to urinate. You feel pain in your abdomen. You may experience chills which may be accompanied by fever. You may also feel very tired.
For sepsis, you will have higher fever and increased heart rate. Your breathing rate will also be higher than normal. In case sepsis is severe, you will experience a decreased urge to urinate. You will have difficulty in breathing as well as experience general body weakness.
Your doctor can conduct the following tests to identify bacteria in your body2:
Your doctor will instruct you to collect your urine and take it to the laboratory. The sample urine is then analyzed for the kind of bacteria causing the infection.
Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. There are certain antibiotic drugs that proteus mirabilis has developed resistance to such as ampicillin. Thus this drug should not be used in treating proteus mirabilis infections. Surgery can also be used if stones block your kidney.1,2
- Proteus mirabilis. http://study.com/academy/lesson/proteus-mirabilis-infection-causes-symptoms-treatment.html
- Proteus mirabilis. http://web.uconn.edu/mcbstaff/graf/Student%20presentations/Proteus/Proteus.html
- Urinary tract infections. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/symptoms-causes/dxc-20344304
- Sepsis. https://www.healthline.com/health/sepsis#symptoms
- Systemic inflammatory response. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/168943
- Pneumonia. https://www.healthline.com/health/pneumonia#types-and-causes3