Infections in the Elderly
Health care professionals and emergency departments can expect to encounter a steady increase in the number of acutely ill older persons that parallels the growing aging US population. Currently, infectious diseases account for 1 of the 5 leading causes of death and 1 of the top 10 indications for hospitalization in persons 65 years or older. Treatment is often delayed because of atypical presentations and the lack of classic clinical clues of an infection. This article reviews the most important and common infectious disease emergencies in the elderly (including pneumonia, urinary tract infection, skin and soft tissue infections, and sepsis). The article also reviews immunosenescence and the potential nonclassical presentation of an older person with infection.