Infectious diarrhea is an important disease in the elderly. Some basic principles have been outlined, as follows. In the elderly: Infectious diarrhea is an underappreciated health problem. There is a higher mortality rate and case-fatality rate compared with younger persons. Infectious diarrhea is most often associated with group settings (e.g., nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities) or antibiotic use. Infectious diarrhea may be associated with abnormal immune function (i.e., immunosenescence). Certain bacterial infections are commoner (e.g., C. difficile, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella). Some infections behave differently (e.g., Salmonella). Prompt and adequate rehydration measures are crucial. The institution of appropriate contact isolation and infection control measures is crucial in group settings.
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