Aging and Infectious Diseases in the Developing World

  • Gavazzi G
  • Herrmann F
  • Krause K
 et al. 
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Although demographic aging does not remain restricted to industrialized countries, the medical challenge arising from the aging population will be distinct in the developing world. This is particularly true with respect to infectious diseases, which have a distinct spectrum in the elderly population, as well as a greater overall relevance in the developing world. Tropical diseases have a specific presentation and epidemiology in elderly patients. Infectious diseases with a worldwide distribution impact elderly patients in the developing world in a specific manner, which is most obvious with respect to human immu-nodeficiency virus and tuberculosis but is also true with respect to " trivial " manifestations of infection, such as diarrhea and pneumonia. Malnutrition contributes in a major way to the immunodeficiency of elderly patients in the developing world. Poorly controlled use of antimicrobial drugs leads to multidrug-resistant microorganisms, which, together with the limited resources available for drug treatment, makes appropriate treatment of infections in elderly patients in developing countries very difficult. Infections in elderly patients will have an increasing impact on the public health and economy of developing countries. Infections in elderly patients are a major medical problem. After a period of neglect, this problem is now receiving the deserved attention of the medical community [1–3]. Specific manifes-tations of infectious diseases in the elderly population are ad-dressed by several reports in the " Aging and Infectious Dis-eases " section of Clinical Infectious Diseases. However, these reports have almost exclusively focused on the situation in industrialized countries, which differs substantially from that in developing countries. In developing countries, different types of pathogens are encountered, poverty and malnutrition lead to amplified severity of commonly encountered infections, transmission of pathogens is increased as a results of deficient infrastructure (e.g., water supply, sewage system, and hospital hygiene), and there is a lack of resources to treat the specific medical needs of elderly patients. Thus, the problems associated with infections in elderly patients and their impact on the med-ical and socioeconomic systems in developing countries need a specific assessment. In this review, we address the following questions: demo-graphic aging is now well established in industrialized countries

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  • Gaë Tan Gavazzi

  • Francois Herrmann

  • Karl-Heinz Krause

  • Gaëtan Gavazzi

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