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Madonna’s hospital stay highlights risks of bacterial infection


(NEW YORK) — Madonna has been discharged after several days from a hospital intensive care unit and is now recovering from a “serious bacterial infection,” according to her manager Guy Oseary.

The iconic singer has also postponed her world tour, named “Celebration,” amid the health scare, which shines a spotlight on bacterial infections.

Although it isn’t clear what type of bacterial infection sent Madonna to the ICU, there are different types of bacterial infections that could require medical care.

ABC News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jen Ashton said bacterial infections can be caused by different sources.

“We can get infections caused by parasites, fungus, viruses and bacteria,” Ashton explained on Good Morning America Thursday.

Types of bacterial infections

Bacterial infections vary and can range from food poisoning and pneumonia to a urinary tract infection or UTI.

Some complications from bacterial infections, such as bacterial meningitis or sepsis, can be life-threatening medical emergencies. For bacterial meningitis, one may experience symptoms such as a sudden fever, stiff neck or nausea while for sepsis, where the infection spreads throughout the blood, symptoms may include a high heart rate, sudden fever or confusion.

If a bacterial infection requires an ICU stay, recovery depends on multiple factors.

“When you talk about someone who has been in an intensive care unit setting [where] they’ve been intubated with a breathing tube down their throat, their recovery depends on a number of factors — their baseline medical condition before they became sick, how long they were in the unit and intubated, whether other organs like lungs, brain, heart, or kidneys were affected,” Ashton said.

“So it’s very, very variable. And that recovery period can go from days to weeks to months in some cases,” Ashton explained.

Reducing the risk of a bacterial infection

Ashton said you can take preventative action to lower your risk of getting a bacterial infection, adding that one should also stay at home if they feel sick.

To prevent food-borne infections, Ashton recommended making sure to prepare and store foods properly and clean any commonly used surfaces that are subject to frequent contact.

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