Lilly Research Laboratory, Lilly Corporate Center, Indianapolis, IN 46285, USA. Cassell_Gail_H@Lilly.com
Powerful diagnostic technology, plus the realization that organisms of otherwise unimpressive virulence can produce slowly progressive chronic disease with a wide spectrum of clinical manifestations and disease outcomes, has resulted in the discovery of new infectious agents and new concepts of infectious diseases. The demonstration that final outcome of infection is as much determined by the genetic background of the patient as by the genetic makeup of the infecting agent is indicating that a number of chronic diseases of unknown etiology are caused by one or more infectious agents. One well-known example is the discovery that stomach ulcers are due to Helicobacter pylori.
Mycoplasmas may cause chronic lung disease in newborns and chronic asthma in adults, and Chlamydia pneumoniae, a recently identified common cause of acute respiratory infection, has been associated with atherosclerosis. A number of infectious agents that cause or contribute to neoplastic diseases in humans have been documented in the past 6 years. The association and causal role of infectious agents in chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer have major implications for public health, treatment, and prevention.
Cassell GH. Infectious causes of chronic inflammatory diseases and cancer. Emerg Infect Dis. 1998 Jul-Sep;4(3):475-87.
PMID: 9716980 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]