Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/10/2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Polymicrobial diseases represent the clinical and pathological manifestations induced by the presence of multiple microorganisms. In some areas, current research focuses only on identifying the spectrum of etiologic agents involved. In other areas, research has progressed substantially and focuses on mechanisms of microbial interaction, host- response to infection, and mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. In the future, the number of polymicrobial diseases will undoubtedly increase. Rapid technological advancements will help us to more clearly define the etiology of currently described polymicrobial diseases and assist us in identifying new polymicrobial diseases. Simultaneously, work will begin to characterize specific mechanisms of microbial interaction and the factors that lead to microbial synergy and mutualism. DNA microarrays of organisms in these diseases may provide insights into their resistance to anti- microbials and host immune defenses, potential avenues of therapeutic treatment. Also, work on EST arrays will begin to identify host-response to infection hopefully to reveal markers of infection, mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, and therapeutic avenues to reduce inflammation. The field of polymicrobial diseases will continue to grow and significant advances will be made. This will require a multi-disciplinary team approach utilizing experts from a number of specialized disciplines to recognize polymicrobial diseases, understand their complex etiology, establish methods for their study, identify mechanisms of disease pathogenesis, and assess appropriate methods of treatment.