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This chapter introduces the reader to the treatment of infections with antimicrobial drugs. In doing so, an ecological and evolutionary approach is taken that sees humans as just one part of the biosphere, which is the totality of life on earth. Our interaction with microorganisms is constant and ever changing, and it is this dynamic relationship between evolving organisms that makes the treatment of infectious diseases so challenging.
Early in the chapter, this ecological approach is introduced, followed by the key to treating infectious diseases, which is the concept of selective toxicity. After that the key groups of organisms and their treatment are discussed, most notably bacteria, viruses and fungi, but also protozoa and helminths. More general topics of identification, testing and resistance are then discussed and before the chapter ends with consideration of opportunistic infections and pharmacological approaches to prevention.
KeywordsAntibiotics Antimicrobial resistance Antibacterial Antiviral Antifungal Antiprotozoan Antimicrobial Infection
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