Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

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Member of the Pseudomonadaceae family, Gram negative bacillus, aerobic, non-spore forming

Growth Conditions

Brain Heart Infusion Broth

Health Hazards

Host Range

Humans, Animals, Plants

Modes of Transmission

Direct contact by inhalation of aerosols. Direct contact by aspiration of contaminated water (tap or distilled). Direct contact by exposure of wounds to contaminated materials. Indirectly by contact of mucous membranes with discharges from infected conjunctivae or infected respiratory secretions

Signs and Symptoms

Conjunctivitis, Upper Respiratory Infections, Pneumonia, Urinary Tract Infections, Wound Infection

Infectious Dose


Incubation Period

Variable depending on infection. Eye infection is 24 to 72 hours.

Medical Precautions/Treatment


Antibiotic Prophylaxis


None Available


Aggressive antibiotic therapy for severe infections; Local application of antibiotic ointment or drops for skin or eye infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is intrinsically resistant to many common antibiotics.


Bacteriological identification of infection

Emory Requirements

Report all exposures

Laboratory Hazards

Laboratory Acquired Infections (LAIs)

None reported to date. However, this is an opportunistic pathogen and there is the possibility of severe to fatal infection in the immunocompromised.


Clinical Specimen: Respiratory secretions, wound exudates, blood, urine Environmental Reservoir: Water, infected solutions (IV, disinfectants, soap)

Supplemental References

Canadian MSDS

Pathogen Safety Data Sheets


Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories 

CDC Guidelines

Infection Control - Disinfection and Sterilization

Journal of Bacteriology

Kukavica-Ibrulj, Irena et Al. (2008). In Vivo Growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Strains PAO1 and PA14 and the Hypervirulent Strain LESB58 in a Rat Model of Chronic Lung Infection. J.Bact. 190:2804-2813.



For all activities involving suspected or known infectious specimen or cultures


For all procedures involving animals infected with Pseudomonas

Spill Procedures


Notify others working in the lab. Allow aerosols to settle. Don appropriate PPE. Cover area of the spill with paper towels and apply an EPA registered disinfectant, working from the perimeter towards the center. Allow 30 minutes of contact time before disposal and cleanup of spill materials


Contact Emory’s Biosafety Officer (404-727-8863),
the EHSO Office (404-727-5922), or
The Spill Response Team (404-727-2888).

Exposure Procedures

Mucous membrane

Flush eyes, mouth or nose for 15 minutes at eyewash station.

Other Exposures

Wash area with soap and water for 15 minutes.


Immediately report incident to supervisor, complete an employee incident report in PeopleSoft.

Medical Followup 

7am-4pm (OIM): EUH (404-686-7941) EUHM (404-686-7106) WW (404-728-6431)

After Hours: OIM NP On Call 404-686-5500 PIC# 50464

Needle Stick (OIM): EUH (404-686-8587) EUHM (404-686-2352)

Yerkes: Maureen Thompson Office (404-727-8012) Cell (404-275-0963)



Susceptible to 1% sodium hypochlorite, 70% ethanol, 2% glutaraldehyde, 2% formaldehyde. Alcohol containing disinfectants recommended for resistant strains. Important Note: Organism has ability to form biofilms on moist environmental surfaces and approach resistance of bacterial spores to disinfectants.


Inactivated by moist heat and dry heat. Moist heat (121°C for at least 15 minutes). Dry heat (160-170°C for at least an hour).

Survival Outside Host

Survives for several months in water with minimal nutrients. 

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Minimum PPE Requirements

At minimum, personnel are required to don gloves, closed toed shoes, lab coat, and appropriate face and eye protection prior to working with Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Additional PPE may be required depending on lab specific SOPs.

Additional Precautions

Frequent hand washing, Avoid rubbing eyes as precautionary measure against eye infections. Respiratory protection may also be required.