Purpose of review
Infections of the gastrointestinal tract are an important cause of morbidity and mortality in immunocompromised patients. This review summarizes the most important articles published between July 2003 and June 2004 in the pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of gastrointestinal infections in the immunocompromised host.
The articles summarized include multiple case reports of novel pathogens such as spirochetes infecting the gut and common pathogens with atypical presentations such as Mycobacterium tuberculosis presenting as colonic perforation. In addition, there are multiple retrospective reviews with insight into typical presentations and risk factors for certain diseases. Furthermore, there are multiple drug reviews and prevalence studies. The recurrent theme, however, is the frequent appearance of infections, such as Strongyloides stercoralis, commonly found in the developing world but now occurring much more commonly in all parts of the world because of AIDS and other disease- or therapeutic-induced immunosuppression.
As people continue to emigrate and travel internationally, it is increasingly important to know about pathogens and disease processes in other parts of the world. The case reports and studies that follow will help clinicians improve their diagnostic and therapeutic skills regarding gastrointestinal infections in the immunocompromised host.