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Bacterial Infection


A bacterial infection is an infection caused by bacteria. Bacterial infections can often be treated successfully with antibiotics.

An infection may begin as a bacterial infection, or a bacterial infection may follow a viral infection that does not get better. When a viral infection doesn't get better for 10 days or more, or when a viral infection starts to improve and then unexpectedly gets worse, a bacterial infection may be more likely.

A bacterial infection usually affects a single area in the body, such as the sinuses, lungs, ears, or urinary tract. Common bacterial infections include sinusitis, pneumonia, strep throat, ear infections, and bladder infections. If untreated, a bacterial infection can spread to the bloodstream, a condition called bacteremia.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerRobert L. Cowie, MB, FCP(SA), MD, MSc, MFOM - Pulmonology
Last RevisedJuly 7, 2010

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