Update on infectious enterocolitides and the diseases that they mimic

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The anatomic pathologist's ability to diagnose infections, including gastrointestinal infections, in tissue sections has improved greatly in recent years. With the increasing number and availability of new molecular assays and immunostains, pathologists' understanding of the correlation between histologic patterns of inflammation and specific organisms or groups of organisms has expanded, as well as our understanding of how closely infections can mimic other frequently encountered diseases in gastrointestinal pathology (such as chronic idiopathic inflammatory bowel disease and ischemia). Anatomic pathologists continue to play a critical role in the diagnosis of gastrointestinal infections, as the examination of slides may provide a much more rapid result than microbiological cultures or other laboratory assays, and often cultures are not obtained before the patient is treated with antibiotics. Because many gastrointestinal infections are acquired through contaminated water and food, this review will focus primarily on food and water-borne infectious enterocolitides.

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