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An opportunistic infection is an infectous disorder caused by pathogens that usually do not cause disease in a healthy immune system. A compromised immune system, however, presents an "opportunity" for the pathogen to infect.
A link between psychological factors and such infections may occur in a number of waysways:
- Immunodeficiency or immunosuppression can be caused by physical and psychological stress see psychoneuroimmunology
- The increased rate of infection may be seen to be linked to psychological conditions which are related to a common Genetic predisposition.
- Recurrent infections
- Immunosuppressing agents for organ transplant recipients
- Chemotherapy for cancer
- AIDS or HIV-infection
- Skin damage
- Antibiotic treatment
- Medical procedures
Types of infections
These infections include:
- Pneumocystis jirovecii, previously known as Pneumocystis carinii f. hominis
- Candida albicans
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Streptococcus pyogenes
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa
- Polyomavirus JC polyomavirus, the virus that causes Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.
- Acinetobacter baumanni
- Toxoplasma gondii
- Aspergillus sp.
- Kaposi's Sarcoma
Treatment depends on the type of opportunistic infection, but usually involves different antibiotics.
References & Bibliography
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