Chapter 33 : Growing Old and Immunity to Bacteria

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This chapter discusses immune function and its association with increased susceptibility of the elderly to bacterial infections. It is divided based upon common sites of infection, with an emphasis on pulmonary and gastrointestinal infections. Within each section, the prevalence of infection in the elderly population is discussed, followed by our current understanding of immunity in the elderly. The bacterial pathogens , , and are the primary focus of this chapter. Foodborne pathogens are an important public health concern and include pathogens such as , , , and . In some individuals, ocular infection can lead to bacterial keratitis, a more debilitating disease. The elderly are at increased risk of developing septicemia following a bacterial infection, with septicemia listed as the 10th leading cause of death in the elderly. Although systemic LPS delivery has been an important model to further our understanding of systemic bacterial infection, it cannot model responses to whole bacteria where the interplay between immune responses and pathogen adds more complexity than one single pathogen-associated virulence factor. The potential for bacterial pathogens to be used a biological weapons has already been realized, and our elderly population is particularly susceptible. Our ability to protect the elderly from bacterial infection is highly dependent on the generation of knowledge about how the elderly respond to infectious disease and additional research is warranted.

Citation: Turner J. 2011. Growing Old and Immunity to Bacteria, p 413-423. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816872.ch33

Key Concept Ranking

MHC Class I
Infectious Diseases
Innate Immune System
Infection and Immunity
Memory B Cell
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Common bacterial infections of the elderly

Citation: Turner J. 2011. Growing Old and Immunity to Bacteria, p 413-423. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816872.ch33
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Immune findings in animal models of aging

Citation: Turner J. 2011. Growing Old and Immunity to Bacteria, p 413-423. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816872.ch33
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Immune findings in human studies of aging

Citation: Turner J. 2011. Growing Old and Immunity to Bacteria, p 413-423. In Kaufmann S, Rouse B, Sacks D (ed), The Immune Response to Infection. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555816872.ch33

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