Potentially Serious Infections in the Aging Person: Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Carmen R. Ballesté, Glenda González, Carlos H. Ramírez-Ronda, Sonia Saavedra, Luis Álvarez, Elba Arroyo, M.C. Rodríguez-Julbe


Infections in the elderly patient are a challenge, since the classical signs of infection are absent or ill defined. The present paper describes the presentation, diagnosis, clinical manifestations and treatment for a selected group of potential serious infections including influenza, bacterial pneumonia, urinary tract infections as well as infections caused by multiresistant bacteria, like vacomycin-resistant enterococcus and methicillin resistant S. aureus. We conclude with the need for prevention in the older person with the use of vaccines, specifically the influenza and pneumococcal vaccine as well as the prevention of urinary infections. Influenza is a significant cause of morbidity, whose ill effects can be prevented in many older persons with the use of a vaccine. The use in prophylaxis and treatment of antiviral agents like amantadine, rimatadine, and oseltamivir is presented. Bacterial pneumonia is one of the leading causes of death in the USA among the older persons. The emergence of drug resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae leads to the consideration as empiric therapy the newer fluoroquinolones or the use of third or fourth generation cephalosporis. Of importance is the use of pneumococcal vaccine among people age 60 or above. The frequency of urinary tract infections among the elderly is of primary although in many instances important do not require treatment. When infection of the urinary tract is diagnosed, most authors use a fluoroquinolone as empiric theraphy. The emergence of multiresistant bacteria like methicillin resistant S. aureus and or vancomycin resistant enterococci leads to the need to consider new agents like quinipristin dalfopristin, linezolid and deptomycin in the management of such patients.

Full Text:


Published by the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus
Founded in 1982