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Lung diseases

How Do You Get E coli in the Lungs?

08/20/2010

Question:

how do you get E coli in the lung

Answer:

This is a slightly difficult question to answer, as there are many ways one might get an E coli infection in the lungs. Anyone who is predisposed to lung infections might be at risk for getting a lung infection with E coli. Such people would include those who are immunosuppressed (or lowered immune systems), those with abnormal lungs (from surgery, previous lung damage from smoking, etc.), and those with devices in place (things like tracheostomy tubes, people who are intubated and on a ventilator, etc.). In some instances, people with E coli infections elsewhere in the body can send infection to the lung via the bloodstream, and this can lead to a pneumonia (or lung infection). 

In general, these infections require treatment quickly to prevent worsening or spread of the infection.

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Response by:

John A Davis, PhD, MD
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine
Associate Dean for Medical Education
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University