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March 14, 2001

Why Do Some Individuals Have More Infections Than Others?

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Md.

JAMA. 2001;285(10):1348-1349. doi:10.1001/jama.285.10.1348

The research by Koch and colleagues1 reported in this issue of THE JOURNAL addresses an important clinical question: Why do some people get more infections than others? There are numerous examples of genetically determined variations in the human immune system that influence the ability to respond effectively to the challenges that microorganisms present. The most obvious are the genetically determined primary immunodeficiency diseases. These complete deficiencies of one or another component of the immune system, such as X-linked agammaglobulinemia, markedly increase susceptibility to a wide variety of infections.2 However, these uncommon and dramatic deficiencies of the immune system are only 1 example of genetically determined variations in the immune system that can lead to increased susceptibility to infection.

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