An infectious disease physician is a doctor who specialises in the various infections that can affect the human body. An infectious disease physician may also be known as an ID physician. There is a great deal of overlap with microbiologists who specialise in infections as well, although ID physicians tend to focus more clinically.
- Bacterial infections
- Viral infections
- Fungal infections
- Tropical diseases
Specialty Areas of Interest
- Tropical infections
- Public health
- Paediatric infections
- HIV / AIDS
- Blood tests
- Microscopy, Cultures and Sensitivity of blood, sputum, urine, stool, joint fluid, wound swabs, cerebrospinal fluid etc
- Imaging including X-Rays, CT scans, ultrasound and MRI scans.
Once diagnosis is confirmed treatment usually involves taking medications, particularly antibiotics.
Treatment may be in hospital or as an outpatient. Follow up is important to ensure resolution of infection.
What to expect
Your ID physician first has to determine the likely infection you may have, its severity, nature and then how best to manage it. History will focus on your symptoms, duration and severity of these. Common symptoms that may lead someone to be referred to an ID physician would include fevers, sweats, illness after travel or unusual or persistent infection detected by another doctor. Events leading up to the illness, particularly travel or high risk exposures will also be enquired about. Past medical problems, medications, allergies and social history are also relevant.
Having completed the history your infectious diseases specialist will conduct an examination. This usually begins with a check of temperature, pulse, blood pressure and respiratory rate. A general examination follows and generally includes examining for rash or lymph nodes, examining the chest and abdomen and sometimes examining the genital region. Otherwise examination will be tailored to the specific case and symptoms being suffered.