Bacteria are found in every habitat on Earth and they may thrive living off of the infected organic tissues of animals, humans, and plants. Termites mostly feed on dead plant material, generally in the form of wood, and cause damage to the areas in which they live. Bacteria has the same needs as that of the termite. They must obtain food and break the food down. The termite feeds on materials that contains cellulose which is actually digested by bacteria in the gut of the termite. Bacteria can reproduce at tremendous speeds, often as much as once every 20 minutes by doubling themselves and splitting in two. The queen termite has a great capacity to reproduce as well, often producing 30,000 eggs each day. The bacteria that live within the termite is then passed on from the adult to each of the young termites that is produced.
Bacteria can hide within infected bone, often until the bone deteriorates and forms and abscess. Termites hide within the walls, deteriorating the wooden structure of a building. Bacterial infections of the bones can usually be treated with antibiotics and washing the wounds with a jet lavage. Treatment for termites is done with chemicals sprayed to “wash” or eliminate the problem much like the use of a jet lavage. When the termite problem is much deeper within the core of the tree, just like the treatment of the infected bone by antibiotics, drilling is needed to deliver the chemicals, to remove the damaged wood, and eliminate the pests.
When an infection is bad, debridement of the infected tissue is also necessary to limit any further spread of the bacteria. In the event that hardware is needed to stabilize the bone, it may be necessary to remove the loose, contaminated hardware to control the bacterial infection. A more stable hardware or a different fixation method is usually used.
Infection, which causes a sequestrum—or dead bone, around or within the bone must be removed. A new bone is created by adding a fresh, healthy iliac crest bone graft or material that regenerates the bone. Just like the deteriorated bone tissue, the badly affected wood will have to be removed and replaced with a new healthy structure.
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