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Clin Liver Dis. 2011 Feb;15(1):111-30. doi: 10.1016/j.cld.2010.09.002.

Infectious diseases and the liver.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 725 West Lombard Street Room N150, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.


The liver plays an important role in host defense against invasive microorganisms. The effect of microbial pathogens on the liver can vary greatly, presenting with a wide variety of manifestations from asymptomatic increases in aminotransaminases, acute liver failure, hepatic fibrosis, and cirrhosis. In evaluating the liver manifestations of a potential infectious pathogen, diagnosis of some of the less common infectious pathogens is dependent on a high level of suspicion and recognition of some of the key diagnostic clues. Successful diagnosis can only be accomplished through a careful history, including travel and exposures, physical examination, and appropriate microbiologic studies. This article reviews the involvement of the liver during systemic infections with organisms that are not considered to be primarily hepatotropic.

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