Skip to main content

Infectious disease

Infectious disease can be caused by many things:

  • Bacteria
  • Viruses
  • Roundworms, pinworms and tapeworms
  • Ticks, mites and fleas
  • Fungi such as ringworm

Infectious disease can affect all or only specific parts of the body.

Your primary care provider can diagnose and treat most infectious disease. However, some cases may require the expertise of an infectious disease physician.

"Infectious disease specialists have expertise in infections of the sinuses, heart, brain, lungs, urinary tract, bowel, bones and pelvic organs," according to the American College of Physicians. "Their extensive training focuses on all kinds of infections, including those caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites. Many ID physicians specialize in treating patients with infections due to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the cause of AIDS.

"Along with their specialized knowledge comes a particular insight into the use of antibiotics and their potential adverse effects. ID specialists also have additional training in immunology (how the body fights infection), epidemiology (how infections spread) and infection control."

You may need to consult an infectious disease specialist if you are having a hard time fighting off an infection, when you suspect a fever is a symptom of a serious infection, or if you have complications while trying to treat an infection.