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Esophageal infections: an update.

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Infectious esophagitis generally occurs in patients with impaired immunity. Although methods to suppress the immune system evolve, the potential infectious consequences are poorly understood. The purpose of this article is to review the risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment of infectious esophagitis.

RECENT FINDINGS: Minimal pediatric data, including a few case reports and series, involve infectious esophagitis. Esophageal infections are usually caused by the following microbes, in order starting with the most common: Candida albicans, herpes simplex virus, and cytomegalovirus. Uncommon risk factors in these and other reports include epidural triamcinolone and oral budesonide in addition to more common risk factors such as HIV infection, chemotherapeutic agents, and transplant immunosuppressive medications. Rare reports involve immunocompetent patients and treatment of these patients is controversial.

SUMMARY: Understanding of infectious esophagitis is growing, and risk factors, diagnosis, and treatments are evolving.

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