Skip to Main Content
×close section menu
Jump to a Section


This section displays information about clinically important infectious diseases in tabular form. Included in these tables are the Organisms involved in the disease/syndrome listed, Specimens/Diagnostic Tests that are useful in the evaluation, and Comments regarding the tests and diagnoses discussed. Topics are listed by body area/organ system: Central Nervous System, Eye, Ear, Sinus, Upper Airway, Lung, Heart and Vessels, Abdomen, Genitourinary, Bone, Joint, Muscle, Skin, and Blood.

Thereafter is a short section on emerging and re-emerging pathogens (viral and bacterial) and antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens.


This column lists organisms that are known to cause the stated illness. Scientific names are abbreviated according to common usage (eg, Streptococcus pneumoniae as S. pneumoniae or pneumococcus) if appropriate. Specific age or risk groups are listed in order of increasing age or frequency (eg, Infant, Child, Adult, HIV).

When bacteria are listed, Gram stain characteristics follow the organism name in parentheses—eg, “S. pneumoniae (GPDC).” The following abbreviations are used:

| Download (.pdf) | Print
AFB Acid-fast bacilli
GPDC Gram-positive diplococci
GPR Gram-positive rods
GNC Gram-negative cocci
GNCB Gram-negative coccobacilli
GPC Gram-positive cocci
GPCB Gram-positive coccobacilli
GVCB Gram-variable coccobacilli
GNDC Gram-negative diplococci
GNR Gram-negative rods

When known, the frequency of the specific organism’s involvement in the disease process is also provided in parentheses—eg, “S. pneumoniae (GPDC) (50%).”

Specimen Collection/Diagnostic Tests

This column describes the collection of specimens, laboratory processing, useful radiographic procedures, and other diagnostic tests. Culture or test sensitivities with respect to the diagnosis in question are placed in parentheses immediately following the test when known—eg, “Gram stain (60%).” Pertinent serologic tests are also listed. Keep in mind that few infections can be identified by definitive diagnostic tests and that clinical judgment is critical to making difficult diagnoses when test results are equivocal.


This column includes general information about the utility of the tests and may include information about patient management. Appropriate general references are also listed.

Syndrome Name/Body Area

In the last two columns, the syndrome name and body area are placed perpendicular to the rest of the table to allow for quick referencing.


The table comprising the bulk of this chapter appears in two parts. The first table (Part I) is organized by body areas and concerns common infections with established pathogens or infectious agents. The second table (Part II) concerns emerging (new) and re-emerging viral and bacterial pathogens and antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens.


| Download (.pdf) | Print
Brain abscess
Organism Specimen/Diagnostic Tests Comments

Brain abscess

Often polymicrobial (14–28% of cases).


Pop-up div Successfully Displayed

This div only appears when the trigger link is hovered over. Otherwise it is hidden from view.