Diagnosis and Management of Common Gastrointestinal Tract Infectious Diseases in Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn's Disease Patients

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Management of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease, stretches beyond control of flares. Some infections of the gastrointestinal tract are more commonly seen in patients with IBD. Work from the Human Microbiome Project has been instrumental in our understanding of the interplay between the vast gut microbiota and host immune responses. Patients with IBD may be more prone to infectious complications based on their underlying inflammatory disease and variations in their microbiome. Immunosuppressant medications commonly used to treat patients with Crohn's and colitis also play a role in predisposing these patients to acquire these infections. Here, we present a detailed review of the data focusing on the most common infections of the gastrointestinal tract in patients with IBD: Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) and cytomegalovirus (CMV). We will discuss appropriate diagnostic tools and treatment options for these infections. Other less common infections will also be reviewed briefly. Studying the various infections of the gastrointestinal tract in these patients could enhance our understanding of the pathophysiology of IBD.

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