Infectious diseases are a major cause of ill health in community and hospitalised patients. They rank in top 10 causes of death. These disorders are caused by various microorganisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites which are directly or indirectly transmitted to humans.
Patients with disorders of immunity (congenital, acquired like HIV, transplant patients, patients receiving chemotherapy) are especially prone to develop infections, at times more than one or recurrent.
Additionally, as global travel has increased unprecedented, the risk of emergence of new exotic infections and remergence of eradicated infections is high. Fever in returning travellers needs to be analysed in a holistic manner with detail knowledge of epidemiology, microbial agent and host relationship.
Infectious diseases specialists are extensively trained in diagnosing and managing wide variety of infectious cases, in patients with normal or compromised immunity. They have detailed knowledge of travel and infectious diseases and methods of prevention including vaccinations.
The field of diagnostics and treatment options has widened substantially however the resistance to medicines in all the microorganisms is increasing rapidly. Medicine prescription differs depending on site of infection, patient characteristics and in certain cases on presence of prosthesis in body. The intervention of an infectious diseases specialist helps optimise the treatment and make the most appropriate use of all available resources.
Within hospital settings an infectious diseases specialist helps in judicious use of antimicrobials by the way of stewardship programs to curb the emerging resistance in microorganisms.