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Chapter: Medical Microbiology: An Introduction to Infectious Diseases: Enteric Infections and Food Poisoning

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Common Etiologic Agents - Enteric Infections and Food Poisoning

Great advances have been made in our understanding of gastrointestinal infections.

COMMON ETIOLOGIC AGENTS

Great advances have been made in our understanding of gastrointestinal infections. Before the late 1960s, fewer than 20% of the infectious syndromes described above could belinked to a specific etiologic agent by any known diagnostic method regardless of cost.The organisms listed in Table 65 – 1 now account for 80 to 90% of cases, although diag-nostic methods for all of them are not yet practical for clinical laboratories. The primary clinical syndrome listed for each agent in Table 65 – 1 should not be regarded as absolute because there are individual variations and overlap; some pathogens cause more than onesyndrome. For example, Shigellainfections frequently go through a brief watery diarrheastage before localizing in the colon, and Campylobacter enteritis usually begins withfever, malaise, and abdominal pain, followed by dysentery. In any single case, the clinicalfindings may suggest a range of etiologic agents, but none is sufficiently specific to be di-agnostic of any single organism.



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