Infectology is an internal medicine specialty that focuses on diagnosing, preventing, and treating diseases caused by tiny organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungus, parasites, and algae) that breach the body’s natural defenses, reproducing and causing symptoms. And diseases that range from the brief and benign (a common cold) to the devastating and chronic (HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, for example).
Although there have been advances in the control and, eventually, the eradication of certain infectious diseases (Smallpox, Infantile Paralysis or Poliomyelitis in the Western Hemisphere), many of them persist and sporadically appear as new or old ones reappear (HIV, SARS, Anthrax, Plague, Hanta).
On the other hand, the ecological pressure exerted by the massive use of antibiotics in agriculture, livestock, aquaculture and their excessive use in the treatment of people with fever and who do not have a bacterial infection (but a viral infection or other cause of antibiotic-unresponsive fever) has resulted in microorganisms now resistant to most available antibiotics.
Factors such as crowded life and ease of movement in a globalized world increase the risk of spreading infectious diseases.
A neurologist is a doctor in charge of evaluating the patient through X-rays, laboratory tests, physical examinations, or data in the medical history to identify what the infection is, why it occurs, and indicate a treatment.
A general practitioner or an internist can treat many infections. Still, if the condition is higher grade, difficult to diagnose, or does not respond to treatment, you will be referred to an infectious disease specialist.
Infectologists are responsible for managing patients with infectious diseases caused by any microorganism, be it viruses, bacteria, parasites, fungi, or simultaneous infection by two or more types of these agents.
In addition to clinical examination methods and complementary studies, the infectious disease specialist is trained in sampling procedures for culture studies and laboratory procedures that allow the isolation and identification of different microorganisms.
Acute infectious infections that develop without sequelae and in previously healthy people or with a healthy immune system can be handled and treated ideally by general practitioners, family doctors, or internists.
The infectious disease comes into play when it comes to serious infectious diseases in people with chronic illnesses, extreme ages, or with concurrent conditions that increase the risk of complications, as well as in the development of nosocomial infections, which are severe infectious processes that are difficult to manage which are acquired by patients during their hospitalization for other causes.