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Institute of Medicine (US) Forum on Microbial Threats; Knobler SL, O'Connor S, Lemon SM, et al., editors. The Infectious Etiology of Chronic Diseases: Defining the Relationship, Enhancing the Research, and Mitigating the Effects: Workshop Summary. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2004.

Cover of The Infectious Etiology of Chronic Diseases

The Infectious Etiology of Chronic Diseases: Defining the Relationship, Enhancing the Research, and Mitigating the Effects: Workshop Summary.

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CONCLUSION

The substantial burden posed by chronic diseases of likely infectious etiology demands global attention and action. Evidence continues to mount implicating microorganisms as important etiologic agents of chronic diseases that contribute substantially to morbidity and mortality. However, the identification and confirmation of infectious causes of chronic diseases is complicated by several problems, including frequent multifactor causation for many of these diseases and differences in the environmental background and genetic composition of different populations. Recently developed molecular and immunological techniques offer new approaches to addressing the technical barriers. However, improved coordination among basic and clinical scientists, pathologists, and epidemiologists also will be critical to progress. Standardization of case definitions and analytical assays combined with sound epidemiologic design will help, as will the development of broad, new strategies for creating carefully pedigreed specimen collections and disease registries. Although the task is daunting, taking the practical and pragmatic pathways described above could clarify many of the uncertain relationships between infectious agents and chronic diseases.

Siobhán O'Connor, M.D., M.P.H.

Assistant to the Director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Clinical Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Medicine

Stanley M. Lemon, M.D.

Vice-Chair, Forum on Microbial Threats

Dean, School of Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch

Copyright © 2004, National Academy of Sciences.
Bookshelf ID: NBK83678
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