Thursday, June 14, 2007

Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus


My name is Kaposi's Sarcoma Herpesvirus, or HHV-8.

I'm part of the Herpesviridae family.

When I appear, people usually get a type of skin cancer called Karposi's sarcoma.
It gives you red-brown spots all over.

I'm rarely seen in people with good immune systems.
I'm very common in people with HIV or AIDS.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007



My name is Roseolovirus.
Sometimes I'm called Human Herpes Virus 6 (HHV-6) or '6th disease'.
I'm part of the Herpesviridae family.

I mostly infect babies and children.
First you get fever, but it doesn't last long.
When thats gone, I give you a rash called Exanthem subitum, or Roseola infantum.

I got my name because people thought my rashes were as red as roses.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Varicella-Zoster Virus

Hi there, I'm VZV.
My family is the Herpesviridae family.
Most people get me as children.
I'm much more serious when I first infect you as an adult.

I pick one or two nerves and only live in those.

My primary infection is called chicken pox.
You get itchy spots all over.
I also cause fever and rash.

My recurring infections are called shingles.
I give you big, red, painful blisters, but only on the parts of skin that connect to my special nerve.

Friday, June 08, 2007


My name is CMV.
Herpesviridae is my family.

My primary illness can look alot like my cousin EBV and sometimes we get confused for each other.
You may not even notice me at all.
I cause lots of problems in people with weak immune systems.

My primary illness in pregnant mothers stops babies from developing properly before they are born.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Epstein-Barr Virus

Hello there, I'm EBV.
I'm a member of the Herpesviridae family.
I have double stranded DNA.

My disease is called infectious mononucleosis, mono, and glandular fever.
I cause sore throat and cough, fever, nausea and swollen lymph nodes.
You get very tired all the time.
In bad cases, I can swell up your liver or spleen, or infect your heart, lungs and brain.

Some cancers are more common after I visit.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Herpes Simplex Virus 1

My name is HSV-1.
I'm a double stranded DNA virus that's part of the Herpesviridae family.
I live in your nerves.
I have a primary infection, then recurrent infections.
My recurrent infection causes painful red blisters around your mouth.
These are called herpes labialis, or cold sores.
Bright sun can convince me to come out again, as well as stress, sickness and menstruation.

I can also cause a deadly encephalitis, which means I infect your brain.
If I get into your eye, I can give you herpetic keratitis and make you blind.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Herpes Simplex Virus 2

Hello, my name is HSV-2.
I'm a double stranded DNA virus (I'm made up of 2 DNA parts).
I'm part of the Herpesviridae family.
Us herpes viruses make our homes in your nerves.
Once we get in, we stick around for the rest of your life.

I cause genital herpes, a very common STI.
First you get a primary infection, with red blisters and an itching or burning as I play with your nerves.
You can also
feel headache or fever.

Later on, I travel back down to visit your skin, giving you more itching and blisters.
This can happen if you are stressed, sick, or when women are menstruating.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Calymmatobacterium granulomatis

Hi there.
I'm C. granulomatis.
I'm a Gram Negative rod shaped bacteria.
I'm found more often in developing countries, especially in tropical places.

I cause a STI with ulcers and sores that eat into you.
You can call it granuloma inguinale, but I like to call it donovanosis (easier to remember).
When I infect you, I get eaten up by one of your cells.
Together we make up 'donovan bodies' that can be seen under a microscope.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Caulobacter crescentus

My name is C. crescentus.
I'm Gram Negative bacteria.
I live in water or in soil, even if there's not much food about.
I'm very good at living in places with little food.

I make 2 daughters when I divide.

One is called a swarmer and has a special tail for moving around.
The other is called a stalked cell and has a long tube with sticky stuff at the end.
Both of these help me survive where other bacteria can't.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Tropheryma whippelei

My name is T. whippelei.
I'm very mysterious, I don't tell anyone how I get into people.
I'm also very rare.
I like infecting older men.

I mostly infect your intestines.

When I'm there, I stop you getting nutrients from food.
You get fever, weight loss, diarrhoea and cramps.
I also get into the rest of your body, into your heart, lungs, skin, and nerves.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

A word from the zoo keeper..

That about wraps up bacteria, folks.

If there was a species you were waiting out for but didn't see, let me know and I'll do my best to convince them to drop by.
Stay tuned over the next few days for the start of the next group of little critters...


Again, let me know if there is anything special you want to see and I'll try put it on my list.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Francisella tularensis

Hi, I'm F. tularensis.
I'm a Gram Negative bacteria.
I'm carried on deer flies and ticks.
I live mostly in rabbits.

I cause tularaemia, also called Rabbit fever.
I have 6 different ways of hurting you
My ulceroglandular type gets lymph nodes gives you an ulcer around the bite.
glandular type causes fever and lymph problems, without the ulcer.
You get conjunctivitis with my oculoglandular type.
My oropharyngeal type gives you a sore throat.
I get into your lungs with my pleuropulmonary type.
My typhoidal type infects your whole body.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Leptospira interrogans

Hi there.
I'm L. interrogans.
I'm a spirochete bacteria.
My favourite place to live is in drinking water, which I get into through animal urine.

I cause leptospirosis.
My disease has 2 stages.
First I'll give you a high fever, headache and muscle ache.
Later, I can give you meningitis, rash and jaundice.
If the second part gets very bad, it is called Weil's disease.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Borrelia burgdorferi

My name is B. burgdorferi.

I am a Gram Negative spirochete like my cousin B. recurrentis.
I'm carried by ticks, especially hard bodied ticks.

I cause borreliosis, or Lyme disease.
You may get rash, fever, muscle pain or headache.
Sometimes I can affect your nerves.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Borrelia recurrentis

Hello! Hello! Hello!
I'm B. recurrentis.
I'm also a spirochete bacteria.
I'm carried by the common body louse.

I cause louse-borne relapsing fever.
I cause fever, shaking, delirium and muscle ache.
I make you sick for a few days and go away.
Then I come back again for a while.
I come back over and over again, sometimes for weeks.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Treponema pallidum

Hello there.
My name is T. pallidum.
I am a spirochete, which is a spiraling bacteria.
I am a sexually transmitted infection.

My primary stage gives you painless "chancres" and lymph node enlargement.
My secondary stage causes rash, flu-like feelings and special warts called 'condylomata lata'
Then I stay latent for years.

Later I can affect your heart and arteries.
I can also hurt your nerves and brain, or cause 'gummas' lesions around your bones and body.

I can cause a shaking that is called 'paralytic dementia', but used to be called 'general paresis of the insane'.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bacteroides fragilis

Hello, my name is B. fragilis.
I'm a Gram Negative rod shaped bacteria.
I am anaerobic, because I don't grow in normal laboratory air.
I have to be collected in a special air-tight container.

I live in healthy peoples digestive tracts and women's reproductive tracts.
I cause trouble when I get into parts of the body that I'm not supposed to be.
I cause abscesses and trauma infections almost anywhere.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Chlamydophila psittaci

Well hello.
My name is C. psittaci.
Like my cousin C. trachomatis, I'm tiny!
I also have both elementary and initial bodies.

You can get me if you spend a lot of time around birds.
I cause a lung infection called psittacosis.
I start out looking like flu, with fever and a sore throat.
Later I grow and look like pneumonia.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Chlamydia trachomatis

Hi there, I'm C. trachomatis.
I'm very small and sometimes called a parasite.
I move between cells as a tough 'elementary body', but once I'm inside I become an 'initial body'.

I really like hanging out in the eyes and genitals.
My disease chlamydia is the most common STI in the world!
It can become pelvic inflammatory disease and make women infertile.
I also cause lymphogranuloma venereum, a tropical STI.

I cause trachoma in your eyes, which slowly makes you blind.
I also cause conjunctivitis and pneumonia in babies.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Mycobacterium vaccae

My name is M. vaccae.

I'm an acid fast bacteria like my cousins.
I live in the soil.

When I'm around, some people make more serotonin.
That's the chemical in your brain that makes you happy.
A lot of people think that I may be able to help fight depression.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I'm M. avium.
I'm an acid fast bacteria with a waxy coat.
I'm part of the
Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare complex.

I cause a lung infection that's like tuberculosis.
I like people with weak immune systems, because I can spread better.
I'm found in alot of people with HIV and AIDS.
In little kids, I get into the lymph glands and swell them up.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mycobacterium leprae

Hello there, my name is M. leprae.
I'm also an 'acid fast' bacteria, carried on your breathe.
I like cool areas of your skin, eyes and nose.

I'm best known for giving people leprosy.
I cover your body in coloured patches and lumps.
I don't actually make your limbs fall off, I just kill the nerves in your skin.
You lose your limbs because you can't feel when you hurt them.

I have 2 types!
Healthy people only get a milder 'tuberculoid' kind of leprosy.
But if your immune sysyem is weak, you get my more severe 'lepromatous' kind.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Mycobacterium tuberculosis

Hello, I'm M. tuberculosis.
I'm called an 'acid fast' bacteria because of my waxy cell walls.
On a special stain called a Ziehl-Neelsen stain, I look red.
I cause tuberculosis, infecting lots of people all over the world.

I get inhaled into your lungs and cause primary TB, which most people don't even notice.
Your immune system keeps me dormant so I wait for years until it gets weak.
That's when I kick in!! I give you cough, weight loss, fever, night sweats, and tiredness.
Your lungs become like a block of cheese, full of holes.

From there I spread to the lymph nodes and infect all over your body.
In the spine, I'm called Pott's disease.
In miliary TB I send tiny bits out to infect lots and lots of organs.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Ureaplasma urealyticum

Hello. Call me U. urealyticum.
I used to be a Mycoplasma like my cousin M. pneumoniae, but then we changed names.
Some people even call me "T strain" Mycoplasma.
I live in you genital tracts.

I get into your uninary tracts and I break down parts of your urine.

I cause NGU (non-gonococcal urethritis).
I give you burning and a yellow discharge.

causes this alot more than I do.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Mycoplasma pneumoniae

Hello, My name is M. pneumoniae.
Us mycoplasmas are the smallest organisms that can reproduce.
We don't have a 'cell wall' around us, like most bacteria do.
Some antibiotics like penicillin need the wall to attack, so we are safe from them.

I cause pneumonia and bronchitis.
My pneumonia is called atypical because I look different to other pneumonias on an X-ray and don't grow on normal agar plates like they do.

You may not feel as sick with me as with some of the others.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Clostridium botulinum

Hello, I'm C. botulinum.
I'm Gram Positive and rod shaped.
I make spores.

I live in soil and in foods like cans of beans.
I can live in them for a very long time, even if they get cooked.
I secrete botulin toxin which is carried to your nerves.

I cause botulism.
You muscles get very weak and floppy, especially your respiratory muscles.
You may not be able to see, swallow or even breath.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Clostridium tetani

Hello, my name is C. tetani.
I am a gram Positive rod bacteria.
I'm anaerobic, but I can make spores.
I live in the soil and
my spores get into your cuts.

Then I use a toxin that moves up into your central nervous system (your spine and brain).
The toxin makes your muscle contract, or spasm.
You can get lockjaw in your face or a smiling spasm called risus sardonicus.
I also get into your back, arms and breathing muscles.

Most people have vaccines that stop me getting into them.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Clostridium difficile

Hello, my name is C. difficile.
I'm an anaerobic, Gram Positive rod that can make spores.
I live in your digestive tract.

I cause pseudomembranous colitis.
Sometimes if you take broad spectrum antibiotics (especially clindamycin and the cephalosporins) you kill off your friendly bacteria.
That leaves lots of room for me.
I make toxins that cause very bad inflammation.
You get diarrhoea, abdominal pain and a fever.

I covered myself in a white membrane like coating that can be seen on the inside of your intestines.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Clostridium perfringens

My name is C. perfringens.
I'm a Gram Positive rod and anaerobic.
I live in soil and can make spores to survive to for a long time.

I can cause myonecrosis, or "gas gangrene".
I get into your muscles in wounds and make toxins.
As I eat away at your muscles, I let off gases that build up between them.

When I am "type A", I can cause food poisoning.
I live in undercooked meat and make spores in your gut.
I make an enterotoxin that gives you cramping and diarrhoea.

My "type C" form causes "necrotising enteritis".
You have to eat undercooked pork with me in it.
You also have to eat alot of foods like sweet potatoes, which have a chemical called trypsin inhibitor in them.
When they are together, I can make my
β-toxin and eat away at your bowels.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Actinomyces isrealii

Hello there, I'm A. isrealii.
I'm an anaerobic Gram Positive rod that can't make spores.
Like my cousin N. asteroides, I am part of the actinomycetes group
We act like fungi

From plants or soil, I get into your skin through cuts.
I can cause actinomycotic mycetoma (or actinomycetoma or short).
I also live in your mouth and gut.
From there I can cause actinomycosis, mostly in your mouth ("lumpy jaw"), gut and lungs.

In both diseases, I cause puss-filled abscesses that erode tissue, then travel up your lymph.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nocardia asteroides

My name is N. asteroides
I'm a Gram Positive rod.
I am aerobic (breathe oxygen) and can't make spores.
I'm part of a special group called actinomycetes.
We get the name because we look a lot like fungi.
We even grown little filamentous branches.
I grow slowly on a gram stain, where I look speckled.

I love to get into your skin through cuts, especially from thorns and plants.
I like causing infections in people with weak immune systems.
I cause Nocardiosis when I get into lungs.
I spread through your blood to get into your brain.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Corynebacterium minutissimum


My name is C. minutissimum.
I'm a Gram Positive bacteria.
I am a rod but I'm an irregular shape.
I can't form spores like some.

I cause erythrasma, mostly on the parts of your skin that are folded.
This has reddish brown patches or scales.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Corynebacterium urealyricum

Hello there.
You can call me C. urealyricum.
I'm a Gram Positive rod shaped bacteria.
My shape is irregular and I can't make endospores.

I can cause urinary tract infections by breaking a chemical called urea into little bits.
Ammonia crystals get left over and get stuck in your kidneys.
I am also very good at giving you kidneys stones.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Corynebacterium jeikeium

I'm C. jeikeium.
I'm a Gram Positive rod.
I can't make spores and I have an irregular shape.

I live on your skin.
When I get into prosthetics or metal pieces I set up shop and have a party.
I also cause septicaemia and endocarditis.
I got my name because I was part of a group of bacteria called "JK".

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Corynebacterium diphtheriae

My name is C. diphtheriae.
I'm a Gram Positive rod bacteria that can't form any spores.
I have an irregular shape.
I used to live in lots of places
Now I mostly live where people don't have vaccines for me.

I get into your throat and airway and make them swell up.
The swelling forms a covering, so you can't breath.
I give off toxins that hurt your heart and nerves.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Listeria monocytogenes

Why, hello hello.
I'm known as L. monocytogenes.
I'm a Gram Positive rod bacteria that can't form any spores.
I live in many meats, vegetables and dairy products.
My favourite foods are fancy soft cheeses, pate, coleslaw and sliced meats.

I am especially dangerous for babies, the elderly and those without a good immune system.
In these people I cause listeriosis, made up of bacteraemia and meningitis.

In pregnant women I cause granulomatosis infantiseptica.
The fetus becomes infected and sometimes dies.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Lactobacillus acidophilus

My name is L. acidophilus.
I am a Gram Positive, rod shaped bacteria.
I have a nice, regular shape, but I can't form spores.

I'm never really dangerous.
In fact, I'm usually very helpful.
I can live in your mouth or your gut.
I'm most important in a woman's vaginal area, because I make sure it is acidic enough to be healthy.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Bacillus cereus

My name is B. cereus.
I'm a Gram Positive rod and I can form spores if I want.

I love rice!
Rice is one of my favourite places to live, especially if it's been reheated over and over.
You can get food poisoning from me that will give you diarrhoea and vomiting.
I use a special toxin to make you sick.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Bacillus anthracis

Hello, I'm B. anthracis.
I'm a Gram Positive rod that can form a spore.
I can live in the soil for years and still be dangerous.
I cause anthrax.
I kill cattle and horses and humans that touch the animals.

I can act in three different ways.
When I get through your skin I make a black scab and fever.
When I'm inhaled I look like flu, but then I suddenly get you in 24 hours.
I get into your gut in uncooked meat.

If you don't take antibiotics, I'm almost always fatal.
Because I kill quickly, I'm sometimes used by armies as a biological weapon.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Bacillus thuringiensis

Hello hello.
You can call me B. thuringiensis.
I am a Gram Positive rod.
I can form an endospore to protect myself.

I can be used as an insectiside.
I hurt insects by making crystals inside them.
I get sprayed on to rivers and crops.

I don't do anything when I get into humans.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Bacillus subtilis

Hi there.
My name is B. subtilis.
I am a Gram Positive bacteria, but I'm a rod.
I can be found in soil.

I can form an 'endospore', a little coating that protects me.
When I'm in my endospore I can survive very high temperatures.
I don't often hurt people, infact sometimes I help them.
I'm used in labratories to test tools like heating machines.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Enterococcus Faecalis

Hello, I'm E. faecalis.
I'm a Gram Positive coccus.
I live in your intestines when you are healthy.

But I can be bad when I get into other parts of your body.
If your intestines are torn (like surgery or stabbing) I spill out and infect your abdomen.

I can also cause UTIs if you have a catheter.
I can infect leg ulcers, burns and blood.
When I infect your heart valves I'm very hard to get rid of.