Biofilms in… Diseases

Biofilms cause over 80% of infections [9] and approximately 65% of nosocomial infections caused by microorganisms in the developed world involve biofilms [3]. The associated costs with the treatment of these infections, in the United States, exceed one billion dollars per year [6, 8].

Biofilms also contribute to catheter infections that—in the United States—cause approximately 10, 000 deaths and more than 11 billion dollars in losses in hospital costs per year [4]; 20% of urinary catheters that have been inserted in 5 million patients in the United States have acquired a biofilm infection [7]. Biofilms can cause urinary tract infections that result in medical expenses of 1.6 billion dollars each year [1]. Over 70,000 people in the world have been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis that is caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms [7]. Between 5–7 billion dollars are spent in medical care and productivity losses in the United States due to 24–81 million cases annually of biofilm related food borne diarrhea disease that are detected and 8000–18000 cases of biofilm related Legionnaire’s disease [2]. In general, biofilms cost industries, cities and hospitals 500 billion dollars a year due to equipment damage, product contamination, energy losses and medical infections [5].

In the following lines there is a list of some of the diseases in which biofilms have some influence:

Dental caries, periodontitis, cystic fibrosis pneumonia, infective endocarditis, muscle skeletal infections, necrotizing fasciitis, osteomielitis, meloidosis, infectious kidney stones, bacterial endocarditis, airway infections, otitis media, biliary tract infections, chronic bacterial prostatitis and infections of medical devices (intravenous catheters, artificial joints, contact lenses), among others.

[1] Anderson G. G., Palermo J. J., Schilling J. D., Roth R., Heuser J., Hultgren S. J. (2003). Intracellular Bacterial Biofilm-Like Pods in Urinary Tract Infections, Science, Vol. 301, p. 105-107.
[2] CalOpTech (2006). An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, California Optics Technologies LLC,
[3] Douglas L. J. (2002). Medical importance of biofilms in Candida infections, Rev. Iberoam. Micol., Vol 19., p. 139-143.
[4] Fine D. (2005). Advancing oral health through industry/academic partnerships, Center for Oral Infectious Diseases, UMDNJ-New Jersey Dental School.
[5] Kane Biotech Inc. (2004). Biofilm solutions.
[6] Kraigsley A., Ronney P. D., Steven E. Finkel (2002), Study report: Hydrodynamic influences on biofilm formation and growth.
[7] MBEC BioProducts (2006). Biofilms efficient.
[8] Perciva S. L., Bowler P. G. (2004). Biofilms and Their Potential Role in Wound Healing, Medscape Today.
[9] Schachter B. (2003). Slimy business—the biotechnology of biofilms, Nature Biotechnology, Vol. 21, p. 361 – 365.

Main paragraph extracted from: Dominguez-Benetton X. (2007). Biocomplexity and Bioelectrochemical Influence of Gasoline Pipelines’ Biofilms in Carbon Steel Deterioration: A Transmission Lines and Transfer Functions Approach, PhD Thesis, Mexican Petroleum Institute, Mexico.


~ by koxinelle on February 27, 2007.

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