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Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2000 Jan;16(1):4-11.

Bacterial infections of the small intestine and colon.

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Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Department of Enteric Infections, Washington, DC 20307, USA.


Bacterial infections of the small and large intestine are widespread and continue to be topics of active research. Surveys document the importance of diarrheal disease in many settings. Major breakthroughs in the understanding of pathogenic mechanisms (especially the interactions of bacteria and intestinal cells) continue, particularly with respect to shigella, salmonella, Yersinia species, and enteropathogenic Escherichia coli. Pathogenic mechanisms of other bacteria, such as campylobacter and entero-aggregative E. coli, are not well defined. Vaccines for cholera and typhoid fever are available, and new vaccines are in various stages of development ranging from synthesis of novel constructs to large-scale field trials. Several candidate vaccines are being exploited as carriers of antigens from other pathogens. Extraintestinal complications from salmonella, shigella, campylobacter, Yersinia species, and Shiga toxin-expressing E. coli are receiving much attention. Genomic sequencing of several of these pathogens is underway. The impact of this work is hard to predict, but expectations are high.


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