Disseminated Infection

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What is a Disseminated Infection?

A disseminated infection is an infection that enters at a single point and then spreads throughout the body, often affecting numerous organ systems.

Although many diseases affect the whole body, doctors normally talk about disseminated infections only when they are discussing diseases that are usually predominantly found in only one physical area. When a local infection turns into a disseminated infection, it may be associated with severe complications.

Also Known As: Systemic infection, disseminated disease

Examples: When a localized STD infection becomes a disseminated infection, it can have severe complications. Some examples of serious, disseminated sexually transmitted diseases include disseminated gonorrhea and disseminated herpes. Although local infections caused by these pathogens are usually not considered to be severe illnesses, disseminated infections with gonorrhea or herpes can be fatal.

It is important to note that herpes infections often remain dormant in the nervous system between outbreaks. When herpes becomes reactivated, even at a different site, it is not considered a disseminated infection.

Disseminated diseases may be more difficult to treat than their isolated counterparts. For example, both disseminated gonorrhea and disseminated herpes require far more intensive treatment than localized genital infections. Oral and rectal gonorrhea, however, also may require more intensive treatment than genital infections, even those infections are not disseminated.


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