Common Infections: Bacteria

Nursing Knowledge

Common Infections: Bacteria

Bacterial infections are a common occurrence in clinical nursing practice, so nurses need to be proficient in identifying and managing these infections. Understanding the causative agents of these infections is essential for effective treatment and prevention. This guide provides a quick overview of the most common bacteria that cause infections in each body system.
Last updated: December 4, 2023

Table of contents

Tip: Download the complete list of common infection-causing bacteria visually sorted by body system! 

What are the most common bacterial infections?  

Bacterial infections are common in various parts of the body. Examples of common bacterial infections include: 

  • Strep throat (Staphylococcus pyogenes)
  • Tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis)
  • UTIs 
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Bacterial meningitis
  • Cellulitis
  • Lyme disease
  • STIs (syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia)

Causes of common skin infections

The most common skin infections are caused by: 

  • Staphylococcus aureus (skin, soft tissues)
  • Streptococcus pyogenes (impetigo)
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa (blood, lungs)

Causes of the most common sexually transmitted diseases

The most common bacteria causing STIs are: 

  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Treponema pallidum
  • Ureaplasma urealyticum
  • Haemophilus ducreyi

Otitis media causes

Otitis media is most often caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae. 

Causes of upper respiratory tract infections 

Infections of the upper respiratory tract are often caused by: 

  • Streptococcus pyogenes
  • Haemophilus influenzae

Gastritis causes

Gastritis is most often caused by Helicobacter pylori. 

Common causes of urinary tract infections 

UTIs are often caused by: 

  • Escherichia coli
  • Other Enterobacteriaceae
  • Staphylococcus saprophyticus
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa

Causes of bacterial meningitis

Bacterial meningitis is often caused by:

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Streptococcus agalactiae
  • Listeria monocytogenes

Pneumonia causes

Causes of community-acquired pneumonia: 

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Staphylococcus aureus

Causes of atypical pneumonia: 

  • Mycoplasma pneumoniae
  • Chlamydia pneumoniae
  • Legionella pneumophila

Tuberculosis causes

Tuberculosis is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Common causes of eye infections

Eye infections are commonly caused by: 

  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Chlamydia trachomatis

Sinusitis causes

Sinusitis is commonly caused by: 

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Haemophilus influenzae

Common causes of food poisoning 

Common bacterial causes of food poisoning include:

  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • Clostridium
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • Escherichia coli 


Common Infections: Bacteria

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Nursing Cheat Sheet

Different bacteria infect different areas of the body. With this cheat sheet you’ll have a better idea of what bugs might be infecting your patient!

Master the topic with a unique study combination of a concise summary paired with video lectures. 

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