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Keywords:

  • Diabetes;
  • Bacterial and fungal infections;
  • Phagocytosis;
  • Chemotaxy

Infections remain a serious hazard for the diabetic patient. Good metabolic control is a major factor in limiting the development and spread of infections and, most importantly, the development of diabetic complications which predispose to infections. In some patients recurrent infections can pose a problem, particularly if there is evidence of secondary immunodeficiency. In these patients adjuvant therapies, including Biological Response Modifiers (BRMS) should be considered. Several factors could predispose diabetic patients to infections. These factors include: genetic susceptibility to infection; altered cellular and humoral immune defence mechanisms; local factors including poor blood supply and nerve damage, and alterations in metabolism associated with diabetes. In the context of a diabetic patient all or some of these factors may operate. The purpose of this review is to assess the relative contribution of these potential mechanisms in leading to infection in patients with diabetes.