infectology


Infectology is the specialty of internal medicine that deals with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases caused by microscopic organisms (microorganisms: bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and algae) that penetrate the body’s natural defensive barriers, multiplying and creating symptoms. and diseases that can range from brief and benign (common cold) to lethal or chronic (HIV / AIDS and Tuberculosis, among others).

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.

An infectologist is the doctor who is 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.

Many infections can be treated by a general practitioner or an internist, but if the infection 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 the management of 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.

In the case of acute infectious diseases, which occur without complications and in previously healthy patients or with a good state of the immune system, these can be perfectly managed and treated by general practitioners, family doctors or internists. Infectious disease comes into play when it comes to serious infectious diseases in people with chronic diseases, extreme ages or with concurrent conditions that increase the risk of complications, as well as in the development of nosocomial infections, which are serious infectious processes that are difficult to manage which are acquired by patients during their hospitalization for other causes.