Persistent bacterial infections: The interface of the pathogen and the host immune system

Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, USA.
Nature Reviews Microbiology (Impact Factor: 23.57). 10/2004; 2(9):747-65. DOI: 10.1038/nrmicro955
Source: PubMed


Persistent bacterial infections involving Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi (S. typhi) and Helicobacter pylori pose significant public-health problems. Multidrug-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis and S. typhi are on the increase, and M. tuberculosis and S. typhi infections are often associated with HIV infection. This review discusses the strategies used by these bacteria during persistent infections that allow them to colonize specific sites in the host and evade immune surveillance. The nature of the host immune response to this type of infection and the balance between clearance of the pathogen and avoidance of damage to host tissues are also discussed.

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