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Treating elderly patients with infections represents one of the greatest challenges to health-care providers. Older adults are the largest growing sector of the population and suffer excessively from infectious diseases such as pneumonia, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and skin and soft-tissue infections. Often because of disabilities, the elderly require treatment of infectious diseases in long-term care facilities (LTCFs). As a result of antibiotic use, LTCFs have become “reservoirs of resistance” and multi-drug resistant (MDR) pathogens are frequently recovered. Clinicians also need to be aware of the impairment of immune function and other emerging chronic infections (HIV, HCV) that are now present in the elderly. Despite vigilance regarding this issue, delays in diagnosis and initiation of therapy are common. This article reviews the changing landscape of infections in the elderly and the challenge these syndromes present in the context of an increasing older population that requires dedicated resources.

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