Submitted to: Trends in Microbiology
Publication Type: Review article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/30/2004
Publication Date: 9/1/2004
Citation: Beck, M., Handy, J., Levander, O.A. 2004. Host nutritional status: the neglected virulence factor. Trends in Microbiology. 12(9)::417-423. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The emergence of new infectious diseases and of old diseases with new pathogenic properties continues to be a problem worldwide. SARS and HIV are just two of the most widely reported recent emerging infectious diseases. What are the factors that contribute to the rapid evolution of viral species? Various hypotheses have been proposed, all involving opportunities for virus spread (for example, agricultural practices, climate changes, rainforest clearing, or air travel). However, until recently, the nutritional status of the host has not been considered a contributing factor for the emergence of infectious disease. Here, we argue that not only can nutritional status influence the host response to the pathogen, but that the pathogen itself can be transformed as a consequence of replication in a nutritionally compromised host.