Bacterial enteric infections in children: etiology, clinical manifestations and antimicrobial therapy

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Abstract

Bacterial enteric infections have a huge impact on human health, particularly among the pediatric population. Despite the explosion of knowledge of the pathogenesis of bacterial enteric infections experienced in the past decade, the number of diarrheal episodes and childhood deaths reported continues to increase in many areas of the world. Specific antimicrobial therapy is indicated for certain confirmed infections, notably shigellosis, enterotoxigenic and enteroinvasive Escherichia coli infections, typhoid fever and cholera. Antimicrobial therapy may have a role in severe and prolonged gastrointestinal illness caused by nontyphoid Salmonella and Campylobacter. However, the use of antimicrobial agents may increase the risk of hemolytic uremic syndrome in children with E. coli O157:H7 infection. Bacterial genome sequencing and better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms involved in the onset of diarrhea are leading to new preventive interventions, such as enteric vaccines, which may have a significant impact on the magnitude of this human plague.

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