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> Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases

Over the past year, the super speciality subject of Infectious diseases has been catapulted into the spotlight by COVID 19. However, infections account for the most common causes of fever (outpatient visits and hospitalisations) in daily practice. The management of complex Infectious Diseases needs an in-depth knowledge of the organisms and the manner in which they infect humans, trained clinical expertise to understand the various associated syndromes, appropriate interpretation of diagnostic tests and updated knowledge of the different treatment options available with an emphasis on optimising patient-directed management strategies.

What are Infectious diseases?

Infectious diseases are disorders caused by living organisms-bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Infections may be transmitted from one person to another, from animals, insects, or contaminated food, water and fomites (environmental objects/ materials likely to carry infection). Many microorganisms live in the diverse microbiome of our body. They are normally harmless or even helpful to maintain the healthy functioning of the body. However, under certain conditions these harmless organisms may give rise to disease.

The symptoms, signs and severity of infectious disease may vary, often making them challenging conditions to diagnose and treat.

What does an Infectious disease specialist do?

Infectious diseases specialists are specifically trained in clinical and laboratory skills that enable them to accurately identify and offer precise treatment for a wide range of these conditions. The field of Infectious diseases is everchanging with the continuous discovery of new organisms, outbreaks, diagnostic and treatment modalities. Specialists in the field concentrate their efforts in understanding infections and staying up to date with advances in the field.

Reasons to consult an Infectious disease specialist

Your primary care physician or surgeon may refer you or you may directly seek the opinion of an Infectious disease specialist for the following reasons:-

  • COVID-19

Our team has been at the forefront of this pandemic since it began in March 2020 and continues to play an active role in the management of OPD and hospitalised COVID 19 patients as we all as the infective complications associated with COVID 19. E.g. post-COVID fevers, bacterial, fungal, tubercular infections etc

  • Difficult diagnosis:

Many infectious and non-infectious conditions have similar symptoms. Infectious disease doctors are trained to glean clues from the history and clinical course, perform and accurately interpret tests that can identify the cause of an illness more precisely.

  • Specialized Treatment for drug-resistant infections

Most community infections are easily treated by physicians. However, some complicated infections like recurrent or drug resistant infections may require additional expertise in management. The Infectious disease specialist is trained to select the appropriate antimicrobial for a specific condition to prevent drug toxicity, drug interactions and most importantly, drug resistance.
Examples of such infections are drug resistant or extrapulmonary tuberculosis, post-surgical infections, orthopaedic implant associated infections, recurrent urinary tract infections and infections associated with indwelling lines and devices.

  • Chronic Infections

Chronic infections like HIV, tuberculosis, bone and joint infections etc. may be debilitating and even life-threatening without appropriate ongoing monitoring and treatment.

  • Infections in special populations

Special populations include immunosuppressed patients with chronic lung, liver, kidney diseases, patients on hemodialysis, uncontrolled diabetes, post-transplant recipients, cancer patients, people on steroids or other immunosuppressive drugs and advanced HIV. These patients may develop serious and atypical complications of regular infections, may acquire uncommon opportunistic infections not seen in the healthy, immunocompetent state and may even develop multiple infections simultaneously. The infectious disease specialist is trained to appreciate various risk factors for rare, opportunistic infections and offer appropriate and timely management.
Pregnant women may develop infections which can be transmitted and cause harm to the baby at various stages of pregnancy. Counselling to prevent and manage these infections is provided by the Infectious disease specialist.

  • Rare infections and travel-related infections

In the developed world, travel medicine is a well-established branch that specializes in individualised advice and precautions for travelers of all age groups.
Unexplained fevers, rare infections in returning travellers are extremely challenging to diagnose and require the expertise of specialists who are updated in tropical and global infections.

  • Adult Immunisation

Vaccinations for adults is often overlooked. Whether for chronic health conditions, higher education, regular booster shots or for specific travel, adult immunisation is extremely important in preventing the spread of infectious diseases and complications of severe infections in adults and children.

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