Tags: Abdominal pain

Cryptosporidium, Cyclospora, & Isospora Species & Microsporidia

Within the last decade, the AIDS epidemic has heightened awareness of several gastrointestinal spore-forming protozoan pathogens. The genera Cryptosporidium, Isospora, and Cyclospora are members of the subclass Coccidia and phylum Apicomplexa; the microsporidia are a group of organisms belonging to the phylum Microspora.

Pathogenic Amebas

There are numerous distinct species of ameba within the genus Entamoeba, and the majority of these do not cause disease in humans. E histolytica is a pathogenic species that is capable of causing disease, such as colitis or liver abscess, in humans. E dispar is prevalent and is indistinguishable from E histolytica by conventional laboratory methods. E dispar exists in humans in only an asymptomatic carrier state and does not cause colitis.

Intestinal Disease

Of patients infected with E histolytica, > 90% are asymptomatic carriers who are colonized with the organism and pass cysts in the stool. This carrier state often resolves without treatment, although relapses and reinfection are common.

Non-falciparum Malaria (P Vivax, P Ovale, P Malariae)

Patients with nonfalciparum malaria invariably develop fever and chills that may become cyclic. Initially, patients experience chills, which are followed by fever (Box 1). Patients with malaria often manifest many nonspecific symptoms such as weakness, malaise, headache, and myalgias. As the disease progresses, signs of anemia, such as pale conjunctiva, may be seen.

Mucormycosis: Clinical Syndromes

Rhinocerebral mucormycosis occurs most commonly in patients with uncontrolled diabetes, especially after an episode of diabetic ketoacidosis. It may also occur in leukemic patients who have had prolonged neutropenia and therapy with broad-spectrum antibiotics and occasionally in organ transplant recipients. The earliest symptoms in rhinocerebral mucormycosis are facial pain, headache, and nasal stuffiness.

Candidemia & Disseminated Candidiasis

Candidemia may present in a variety of fashions, ranging from asymptomatic to fulminant sepsis. The candidemic patient generally has risk factors for infection, such as malignancy, chemotherapy-induced neutropenia, organ transplantation, GI surgery, burns, indwelling catheters, or exposure to broad-spectrum antibiotics. Disseminated candidiasis must be assumed to be present in those with positive blood cultures, although negative cultures do not preclude the possibility of disseminated disease. Dissemination usually manifests with many microabscesses involving multiple organs, especially the liver, spleen, and eye, but almost any organ may be involved (Box 2).

Bartonella

There are currently 11 known species of Bartonella, four of which are considered to be pathogenic in humans, namely B bacilliformis, B quintana, B henselae, and Bartonella elizabethae. B henselae and B elizabethae have only recently been isolated and identified, but B quintana and B bacilliformis have long been known as the causes of trench fever (B quintana) and Oroya fever and verruga peruana (B bacilliformis). The bartonellae establish intimate relationships with animal hosts, often within the vascular compartment but without causing disease. The relationship between B bacilliformis and the other three Bartonella species that are pathogenic in humans was established in the early 1990s.

Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever (RMSF)

RMSF is caused by Rickettsia rickettsii and is an acute tick-borne illness occurring during seasonal tick activity. The disease is characterized by acute onset of fever, headache, and a rash of the extremities spreading to the trunk. A. Epidemiology.

Ehrlichia Infection (Ehrlichiosis)

Ehrlichiosis is not a reportable disease, so its true incidence is unknown. The majority of cases of HME have been reported from the south, central, and southeastern United States. Cases have also been reported from Western Europe, Scandinavia, and Africa. In contrast, most cases of HGE have been reported from the upper midwestern and northeastern United States.

Coxiella, Ehrlichia, & Rickettsia

Once inside a host cell, Coxiella and Ehrlichia spp. remain within a vacuole where they progress through distinct developmental stages; in contrast, the Rickettsia spp. escape the endocytic vacuole and replicate within the host cell cytoplasm. Ehrlichia and Rickettsia spp. are transmitted by arthropod vectors. Coxiella burnetii is the causative agent of Query or Q fever.