Infectious disease is a term that may make one want to run for a bar of soap or hand sanitizer. Everything that affects the human condition in terms of illness—from the common cold to the flu to worldwide epidemics—falls under the category of infectious disease, which is a very real threat to health both inside and outside doctors’ offices, medical clinics, and hospitals. Consequently, it is a medical specialty of utmost importance in treatment.
Infectious disease or diseases are transmissible (able to be transmitted) or communicable illnesses that trigger infection in a human and become contagious to others through the air or personal contact. Viruses and bacteria are two of the most prevalent infectious diseases, but parasites, protozoa, prons, and fungi are also a part of this arena.
Infectious Disease Forums: No one wants to be sick, no less pass along their illness to others. We want you to stay well and be educated on how to stay away from getting an infectious disease:
Common Infectious Diseases Globally
Did you know that more than half of all deaths worldwide are attributed to only three diseases: tuberculosis, malaria, and AIDS—a whopping 5 million deaths and more than 300 million illnesses annually. Recent infectious disease mortality rates are not readily available. The latest statistics are from 2002 when 14.7 million people globally died of infectious disease, down from 16.4 million in 1993. An example of the magnitude of infectious disease is that the Center for Disease Control reported in 2010 that there were 21,000 cases of whooping cough in the U.S.–the size of a small city. That is not the cold or flu, but a type of infectious disease that has emerged and rescinded over the years. By no means is the following an exhaustive list of infectious diseases.
Your Infectious Disease Doctor
Infectiology is the medical field concerned with studying, diagnosing and treating infectious disease, and infectiologists are the specialists within this realm of medicine. It is also closely related to epidemiology, which focuses on the spread of disease. Most often, the first line of diagnosis and treatment of infectious disease falls to the family doctor, primary care physician or internal medicine specialist. Uncomplicated cases are often treated with basic antibiotics, rest, and fluids, and allowed to run their course without calling in a specialist. However, when infectious disease does not respond to normal treatment, the infectious agent may be unknown or tropical, or the patient’s immune system is suspected to be compromised, then an infectiologist is brought in, working in conjunction with laboratory technicians and scientists, immunologists, and other specialists to get to the bottom of the problem. Infectiologists work to cure or at least contain the contagion until it is properly diagnosed and treated.
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Identifying and Diagnosing Disease
Infectious disease specialists rely on a thorough patient medical history and the clinical presentation or visible, obvious symptoms of the disease to begin the detective work. Blood tests or cultures of the affected area are taken. X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound, and other imaging technology may be used in some cases.
Treating illnesses related to infectious disease can be time-consuming and expensive depending on the diagnostic and treatment methods chosen by the infectiologist. It is always best to consult with your medical insurance provider to make sure you are covering for diagnosis and treatment, especially because rounds of antibiotics or other prescription medications can be extremely expensive.
The good news is that despite the prevalence of infectious disease worldwide the medical community has made tremendous strides in containing and all by eradicating many besetting illnesses over the past 50 years.
It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.