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Bacteremia

Bacteremia refers to the presence of viable bacteria that is actually circulating in the blood.

Additional Sources

Answers.com

The presence of bacteria in the blood.

Encyclopedia Britannica

Bacteremia, the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream, whether associated with active disease or not. The transient bacteremia that follows dental manipulation or surgical procedures may have little significance in the otherwise healthy individual with a functioning immune system. By contrast, extensive bacteremia, when it is associated with the release of bacterial toxins into the circulation (septicemia), can be a serious medical emergency leading to bacteremic shock and eventual vascular collapse.

Mayo Clinic

"Blood poisoning" is not a medical term. As the term is usually used, it refers to the presence of bacteria in the blood (bacteremia) — and not a poisonous substance in the blood. So "blood poisoning" is really a misnomer.

MedicineNet

Bacteremia: The presence of live bacteria in the bloodstream. Bacteremia is analogous to viremia (the presence of a virus in the blood) and parasitemia (the presence of a parasite in the blood). Bacteremia, viremia and parasitemia are all forms of sepsis (bloodstream infection). The term "bacteremia" was compounded from "bacteria" and "-emia" (in the blood). Also called bacillemia.

Merriam Webster

The usually transient presence of bacteria in the blood.

The Free (Medical) Dictionary

Bacteremia occurs when bacteria enter the bloodstream. This may occur through a wound or infection, or through a surgical procedure or injection. Bacteremia may cause no symptoms and resolve without treatment, or it may produce fever and other symptoms of infection. In some cases, bacteremia leads to septic shock, a potentially life-threatening condition.

Wikipedia

Bacteremia (also Bacteraemia or Bactermia) is the presence of bacteria in the blood. The blood is normally a sterile environment, so the detection of bacteria in the blood (most commonly with blood cultures) is always abnormal.

Bacteria can enter the bloodstream as a severe complication of infections (like pneumonia or meningitis), during surgery (especially when involving mucous membranes such as the gastrointestinal tract), or due to catheters and other foreign bodies entering the arteries or veins (including intravenous drug abuse).

Bacteremia can have several consequences. The immune response to the bacteria can cause sepsis and septic shock, which has a relatively high mortality rate. Bacteria can also use the blood to spread to other parts of the body (which is called hematogenous spread), causing infections away from the original site of infection. Examples include endocarditis or osteomyelitis. Treatment is with antibiotics, and prevention with antibiotic prophylaxis can be given in situations where problems are to be expected.
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