Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: April 1, 2009
Publication Date: July 1, 2009
Citation: Fratamico, P.M., Smith, J.L., Brogden, K.A. 2009. Concluding perspectives of sequelae and long-term consequences of infectious diseases - what's next?. In: Fratamico, P.M., Smith, J.L., Brogden, K.A., editors. Sequelae and Long-Term Consequences of Infectious Diseases. Washington, DC: ASM Press. p. 487-493. Technical Abstract: Infectious diseases are a major cause of morbidity and mortality, representing the second leading cause of death worldwide and the third leading cause of death in the United States. Moreover, infections caused by different pathogenic agents, including food-borne pathogens, can lead to serious post-infectious sequelae with long term consequences, such hemolytic uremic syndrome, Guillain Barré Syndrome, and reactive arthritis. There are also many chronic syndromes and diseases for which there is a suspicion of an infectious etiology, including the association of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis and possibly other pathogens, as triggers of inflammatory bowel disease or Crohn’s disease. In addition to the significant public health impact, infectious diseases and the long-term consequences cause a substantial economic burden to society due to high costs of associated medical care, decreased productivity, and days lost from work. This final chapter in the book, "Sequelae and Long Term Consequences of Infectious Diseases", emphasizes the need for further studies directed toward understanding post-infectious sequelae, the role of polymicrobial diseases and biofilms, and proving or disproving the suspected associations between microbes and chronic illnesses. Some of these links may be proved wrong; however, if they are substantiated, such as the association of Helicobacter pylori and ulcers, it will lead to new treatments and prevention strategies for various types of cancers and chronic illnesses and the development of new vaccines.