Gram stain of bacteria: a test frequently performed in infectology to distinguish between different types of bacteria.
|Synonyms||Infectious diseases, infectious medicine, infectious disease medicine, infectiology, infectology|
|Significant diseases||Infections, e.g. osteomyelitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, influenza, also public health issues e.g. epidemics, antimicrobial resistance, bioterrorism|
|Significant tests||Gram staining, microbiological cultures (including blood cultures), serological tests, genotyping, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), medical imaging|
|Specialist||Infectious disease specialist, Infectologist|
|Glossary||Glossary of medicine|
Infectious diseases, also known as infectology, is a medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis, control and treatment of infections. An infectious disease specialist's practice may consist largely of managing nosocomial (hospital-acquired) infections, or it may be out-patient based.
Infectious diseases specialists typically serve as consultants to other physicians in cases of complex infections, and often manage patients with HIV/AIDS and other forms of Immunodeficiency. Although many common infections are treated by physicians without formal expertise in infectious diseases, specialists may be consulted for cases where an infection is difficult to diagnose or manage. They may also be asked to help determine the cause of a fever of unknown origin.
Specialists in infectious diseases can practice both in hospitals (inpatient) and clinics (outpatient). In hospitals, specialists in infectious diseases help ensure the timely diagnosis and treatment of acute infections by recommending the appropriate diagnostic tests to identify the source of the infection and by recommending appropriate antibiotics to treat infection. For certain types of infections, involvement of specialists in infectious diseases may improve patient outcomes. In clinics, specialists in infectious diseases can provide long-term care to patients with chronic infections such as HIV/AIDS.
Infectious diseases specialists employ a variety of diagnostic tests to help identify the pathogen that is causing an infection. Common tests include Gram staining, blood cultures, serological tests, genotyping, and polymerase chain reaction.
Infectious diseases specialists employ a variety of antimicrobial agents to help treat infections. The type of antimicrobial depends on the organism that is causing the infection. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections; antiviral agents treat viral infections; and antifungal agents treat fungal infections.
|Names||Doctor, Medical Specialist, Infectious diseases Consultant|
| Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or |
Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) or
Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery
In the United States, infectious diseases is a subspecialty of internal medicine and pediatrics i.e., an internist does at least an additional two years of a fellowship and a pediatrician does at least three years to qualify as an infectious diseases specialist and take the infectious diseases board certification exam of the American Board of Internal Medicine or the American Board of Pediatrics. The exam has been given as a subspecialty of internal medicine since 1972 and as a subspecialty of pediatrics since 1994.
Medicine is the science and practice of establishing the diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.
Neurology is a branch of medicine dealing with disorders of the nervous system. Neurology deals with the diagnosis and treatment of all categories of conditions and disease involving the central and peripheral nervous systems, including their coverings, blood vessels, and all effector tissue, such as muscle. Neurological practice relies heavily on the field of neuroscience, the scientific study of the nervous system.
Nephrology is a specialty of medicine and pediatric medicine that concerns itself with the kidneys: the study of normal kidney function and kidney disease, the preservation of kidney health, and the treatment of kidney disease, from diet and medication to renal replacement therapy.
A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in psychiatry, the branch of medicine devoted to the diagnosis, prevention, study, and treatment of mental disorders. Psychiatrists are medical doctors, unlike psychologists, and must evaluate patients to determine whether their symptoms are the result of a physical illness, a combination of physical and mental ailments, or strictly psychiatric. A psychiatrist usually works as the clinical leader of the multi-disciplinary team, which may comprise psychologists, social workers, occupational therapists and nursing staff. Psychiatrists have broad training in a bio-psycho-social approach to assessment and management of mental illness.
Infection is the invasion of an organism's body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce. Infectious disease, also known as transmissible disease or communicable disease, is illness resulting from an infection.
Pathology is the study of the causes and effects of disease or injury. The word pathology also refers to the study of disease in general, incorporating a wide range of bioscience research fields and medical practices. However, when used in the context of modern medical treatment, the term is often used in a more narrow fashion to refer to processes and tests which fall within the contemporary medical field of "general pathology", an area which includes a number of distinct but inter-related medical specialties that diagnose disease, mostly through analysis of tissue, cell, and body fluid samples. Idiomatically, "a pathology" may also refer to the predicted or actual progression of particular diseases, and the affix path is sometimes used to indicate a state of disease in cases of both physical ailment and psychological conditions. A physician practicing pathology is called a pathologist.
Internal medicine or general internal medicine is the medical specialty dealing with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of adult diseases. Physicians specializing in internal medicine are called internists, or physicians in Commonwealth nations. Internists are skilled in the management of patients who have undifferentiated or multi-system disease processes. Internists care for hospitalized and ambulatory patients and may play a major role in teaching and research. Of note is that internal medicine and family medicine are often confused as equal in the Commonwealth nations.
Klebsiella pneumoniae is a Gram-negative, non-motile, encapsulated, lactose-fermenting, facultative anaerobic, rod-shaped bacterium. It appears as a mucoid lactose fermenter on MacConkey agar.
Pulmonology is a medical specialty that deals with diseases involving the respiratory tract. The term is derived from the Latin word pulmō, pulmōnis ("lung") and the Greek suffix -λογία, -logia. Pulmonology is synonymous with pneumology, respirology and respiratory medicine.
Infection control is the discipline concerned with preventing nosocomial or healthcare-associated infection, a practical sub-discipline of epidemiology. It is an essential, though often underrecognized and undersupported, part of the infrastructure of health care. Infection control and hospital epidemiology are akin to public health practice, practiced within the confines of a particular health-care delivery system rather than directed at society as a whole. Anti-infective agents include antibiotics, antibacterials, antifungals, antivirals and antiprotozoals.
Internal medicine-pediatrics, or med-peds, is a medical specialty in which doctors train to be board certified in both internal medicine and pediatrics. A residency program in med-peds is four years in length, contrasted with three years for internal medicine or pediatrics alone. Upon completion of a med-peds residency, a doctor can practice in the areas of internal medicine, pediatrics or can complete a fellowship program to further specialize in an internal medicine or pediatrics sub-field.
Adolescent medicine is a medical subspecialty that focuses on care of patients who are in the adolescent period of development. This period begins at puberty and lasts until growth has stopped. Typically, patients in this age range will be in the last years of elementary school up until high school. In developed nations, the psychosocial period of adolescence is extended both by an earlier start, as the onset of puberty begins earlier, and a later end, as patients require more years of education or training before they reach economic independence from their parents.
The Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) is a medical association representing physicians, scientists and other health care professionals who specialize in infectious diseases. It was founded in 1963 and is based in Arlington, Virginia. As of 2018 IDSA had more than 11,000 members from across the United States and nearly 100 other countries on six different continents. IDSA's purpose is to improve the health of individuals, communities, and society by promoting excellence in patient care, education, research, public health, and prevention relating to infectious diseases. It is a 501(c)(6) organization.
Medical microbiology, the large subset of microbiology that is applied to medicine, is a branch of medical science concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, this field of science studies various clinical applications of microbes for the improvement of health. There are four kinds of microorganisms that cause infectious disease: bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, and one type of infectious protein called prion.
Merle Sande(September 2, 1939 – November 4, 2007) was a leading American infectious-diseases expert whose early recognition of the looming public health crisis posed by AIDS led to the development of basic protocols for how to handle infected patients. He graduated from Washington State University and received his MD degree from the University of Washington, School of Medicine in Seattle.
Antibiotic misuse, sometimes called antibiotic abuse or antibiotic overuse, refers to the misuse or overuse of antibiotics, with potentially serious effects on health. It is a contributing factor to the development of antibiotic resistance, including the creation of multidrug-resistant bacteria, informally called "super bugs": relatively harmless bacteria can develop resistance to multiple antibiotics and cause life-threatening infections.
Chronic Lyme disease (CLD) is the name used by some people with "a broad array of illnesses or symptom complexes for which there is no reproducible or convincing scientific evidence of any relationship to Borrelia burgdorferi infection" to describe their condition and their beliefs about its cause. Both the label and the belief that these people's symptoms are caused by this particular infection are generally rejected by medical professionals, and the promotion of chronic lyme disease is an example of health fraud. Chronic Lyme disease in this context should not be confused with genuine Lyme disease, a known medical disorder caused by infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, or with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, a set of lingering symptoms which may persist after successful treatment of infection with Lyme bacteria.
Antimicrobial stewardship is the systematic effort to educate and persuade prescribers of antimicrobials to follow evidence-based prescribing, in order to stem antibiotic overuse, and thus antimicrobial resistance. AMS has been an organized effort of specialists in infectious diseases, both in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics with their respective peer-organizations, hospital pharmacists, the public health community and their professional organizations since the late 1990s. It has first been implemented in hospitals. In the U.S., within the context of physicians' prescribing freedom, AMS has largely been voluntary self-regulation in the form of policies and appeals to adhere to a prescribing self-discipline. At hospitals, this may take the form of an antimicrobial stewardship program. As of 2019, California and Missouri have made AMS programs mandatory by law.
The Reinvigorating Antibiotics and Diagnostic Innovation (READI) Act is a bipartisan bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA). The bill would give a tax credit to organizations that create new antibiotics and "rapid diagnostic tests" that treat serious or life-threatening infections.
The Society of Infectious Diseases Pharmacists (SIDP) is a non-profit professional association of pharmacists and allied health professionals who specialize in infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship. According to the Board of Pharmaceutical Specialties, clinical pharmacists specializing in infectious diseases are trained in the use of microbiology and pharmacology to develop, implement, and monitor drug regimens that incorporate the pharmacodynamics and pharmacokinetics of antimicrobials for patients.