Structural categories of bacteria

Even though it is unlikely that a medical assistant will have to interpret the results of a gram stain, it is important to know what the different types, shapes, and colors of bacteria are and what it means when they are reported out.

When bacteria are present in the blood, they are identified by their shapes. The three main shapes for the structural categories of bacteria listed below:

Cocci

Bacilli

Spirilla

Research the three structural categories of bacteria and give an example of a disease that could be diagnosed if they were identified during microscopic examination.

Please read the following scenario:

An 86 year old patient presented to the ER with severe body shivers/chills. Her initial blood results are normal including her CBC. The physician orders blood cultures and the patient is admitted for observation. After 24 hours the patient is told that the initial blood culture shows gram positive and gram negative rods in her blood stream. It will take another 24 hours for the test to show exactly what type (species) of bacteria is in her system. The following day, the infectious disease doctor walks into the patient’s room and tells her that she has MRSA and will have to be on antibiotics for 4 weeks

  1. If the patient had gram positive and gram negative rods in her blood stream, should the diagnosis of MRSA be questioned, why or why not?
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