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Toxoplasma Gondii

Toxoplasma gondii infection, or toxoplasmosis, is a zoonosis (the definitive hosts are members of the cat family). The two most common routes of infection in humans are by oral ingestion of the parasite and by transplacental (congenital) transmission to the fetus. Ingestion of undercooked or raw meat that contains cysts or of water or food contaminated with oocysts results in acute infection.

Toxoplasma Gondii: Treatment

Immunocompetent adults and children with toxoplasmic lymphadenitis do not require treatment unless symptoms are severe or persistent. Infections acquired by laboratory accident or transfusion of blood products are potentially more severe, and these patients should always be treated. The combination of pyrimethamine, sulfadiazine, and folinic acid for 4-6 weeks is the most commonly used and recommended drug regimen (Box 2).

Pneumocystis Carinii

In 1983, P carinii pneumonia (PCP) was described as the AIDS-defining illness in = 60% of the first 1000 patients diagnosed with AIDS in the United States. Subsequently, the advent of prophylactic measures has reduced the incidence of PCP presenting as the initial diagnosis for AIDS to < 50% of cases. In addition, the hospitalization rate is also declining for patients with AIDS who also have PCP. This decline has presumably been caused by successful use of prophylaxis against the organism.

Extrapulmonary P Carinii Infections

Extrapulmonary P carinii infections occur in < 3% of patients and must be diagnosed with histopathologic samples. Primary prophylaxis for PCP with pentamidine may confer a higher risk for extrapulmonary infection. Symptoms of extrapulmonary involvement are nonspecific, usually consisting of fevers, chills, and sweats.

Actinomycetes

Originally thought to be fungi due to their hyphae-like appearance, they are now recognized as bacteria based on their cell wall components, reproduction by fission without sporulation or budding, inhibition by antibacterial agents, and molecular phylogenetic analysis. The actinomycete chromosomes contain a high content of guanosine and cytosine.

Other Mycobacteria

The increasingly relative importance of the atypical mycobacteria, many of which are ubiquitous in the environment, was recognized with the decline in tuberculous disease. Generally, atypical mycobacteria are unusual causes of disease in patients who are immunocompetent but can in immunocompromised hosts such as AIDS and cancer patients.

Parasitic Infections

Most infectious agents fulfill the definition of a parasite: an organism that grows, feeds, and shelters on or in a different organism and contributes nothing to the host. However, medical science has created the classification “parasite” to include a complex group of nonfungal eukaryotic human pathogens. Unlike fungi, parasites have no cell wall and are often motile.

Specific Causes Of Acute Community-Acquired Pneumonia

Great overlap occurs among the clinical manifestations of the pathogens associated with acute community-acquired pneumonia. However, constellations of symptoms, signs, and laboratory findings serve to narrow the possibilities. By developing an ability to focus on a few pathogens or to identify a specific pathogen, clinicians can better predict the clinical course of pneumonia and can narrow antibiotic coverage. Pathogenic strains of S. pneumoniae have a thick capsule that prevents PMN binding and that blocks phagocytosis.

Infectious disorders

Infectious diseases comprise those illnesses that are caused by microorganisms or their products. Clinical manifestations of infection occur only when sufficient tissue injury has been inflicted directly by microbial products (e.g., endotoxins and exotoxins), or indirectly by host responses (e.g., cytokines and hydrolytic enzymes released by polymorphonuclear leukocytes). Despite the extraordinary recent advances that have occurred in therapeutics for infectious diseases, a number of basic principles should be followed to prescribe antimicrobials and vaccines is an optimal manner.