Chronic Gastrointestinal Consequences of Acute Infectious Diarrhea: Evolving Concepts in Epidemiology and Pathogenesis
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Acute infectious diarrhea is a frequent occurrence both in the developing world, where it results in considerable mortality, and in developed countries, where it accounts for a significant number of health visits, hospitalizations, and medical and non-medical losses. Recent evidence in basic, clinical, and epidemiological science domains has emerged that suggest that the burden caused by these infections is not limited to the acute illness, but may result in triggering or contributing to the pathogenesis of a number of chronic health problems. This review considers the breadth of this information for the purpose of consolidating what is currently known, identifying gaps in knowledge, and describing future directions and policy implications related to the chronic consequences of acute infectious diarrhea. A unifying hypothesis of this review is that infections may trigger a number of long-lasting changes in gut physiology and immunity that can increase the risk to a variety of chronic gastrointestinal diseases, particularly in genetically susceptible individuals.
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