Normal Flora and Endogenous Infection

Many areas of the human body are colonized with bacteria—this is known as normal flora. Infections often arise from one's own normal flora (also called an endogenous infection). Endogenous infection may occur when there are alterations in the normal flora (e.g., recent antimicrobial use may allow for overgrowth of other normal flora) or disruption of host defenses (e.g., a break or entry in the skin). Knowing what organisms reside where can help to guide empirical antimicrobial therapy (Fig. 69-1). In addition, it is beneficial to know what anatomic sites are normally sterile. These include the cerebrospinal fluid, blood, and urine.

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