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Infection and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Biological Sciences
Stephen Reid

Chapter 15: Infection and Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection INFECTION  An infection is an invasion of the body by a pathogen (any microorganism that causes disease) and the resulting signs and symptoms that develop in response to the invasion.  The most common causes of infection are bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa.  An emerging infection is an infectious disease whose incidence has increased in the past 20 years or threatens to increase in the immediate future.  Emerging infectious diseases can originate from unknown sources, contact with animals, changes in known diseases, or biologic warfare.  Resistance occurs when pathologic organisms change in ways that decrease the ability of a drug (or a family of drugs) to treat disease.  Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), and penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae are three of the most troublesome antibiotic- resistant bacteria currently causing problems in North America.  Nosocomial infections are infections that are acquired as a result of exposure to a microorganism in a hospital setting and typically occur within 72 hours of hospitalization.  For older adult patients, the rate of nosocomial infection is two to three times higher than for younger patients. HUMAN IMMUNODEFICIENCY VIRUS INFECTION  The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, which means it replicates going from RNA to deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).  HIV can only be transmitted under specific conditions that allow contact with infected body fluids, including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk.  Sexual contact with an HIV-infected partner is the most common mode of transmission.  Immune dysfunction in HIV disease is caused predominantly by damage to and destruction of + + CD4 T cells (also known as T helper cells or CD4 T lymphocytes).  The major concern related to immune suppression is the deve
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