Patients with infections of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract may present with a range of complaints from vague symptoms such as malaise and anorexia to more serious manifestations such as severe diarrhea and sepsis. Although many GI infections require antibiotic therapy, others cause self-limited disease and only supportive care is needed. In the last decade, the recognition of the clinical importance of Helicobacter pylori and its cause and effect on peptic ulcer disease has changed what was once thought to be a disorder of excessive acid production to an infectious disease. The rising incidence of hepatitis C virus and progression to chronic active hepatitis and cirrhosis has also placed a tremendous burden on the health care system to find more effective and tolerable therapies for this disease. The emergence of resistance to antibiotics used to treat many of these infections, especially Helicobacter pylori infection and infectious diar-rheal syndromes, poses new challenges for clinicians.
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