Intestinal superinfections in patients with inflammatory bowel diseases

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Background: Intestinal superinfections may occur in the setting of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), complicating the clinical picture and triggering flares of disease.

Aims: To report our experience with intestinal superinfections in IBD patients over a three-year period.

Methods: Charts of patients hospitalized for moderate-to-severe active disease during the observation period were reviewed, and data of patients with flares due to infections collected and analyzed.

Results: Overall, 15 out of 113 IBD patients (13.3%) had flare-ups related to intestinal infections; 143 acute flare-ups were thus documented, with 17 episodes (12%) related to infective agents, represented by Campylobacter jejuni (3 infections), Clostridium difficile (7 infections), and Cytomegalovirus (7 infections). All but two infections occurred in ulcerative colitis patients, and all responded to appropriate treatment.

Conclusions: Intestinal superinfections may complicate the clinical picture of IBD patients, increasing the diagnostic and therapeutic burden. Appropriate early diagnostic and therapeutic measures are thus needed in these patients.

Highlights: ▸ Intestinal superinfections occur in IBD, triggering flares of disease. ▸ We found 13% flare-ups related to intestinal infection in IBD patients. ▸ Appropriate early diagnostic and therapeutic measures are needed in these patients.

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