As we all know the current ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, has created a lot of awareness regarding infectious diseases, it is important for all of us to understand, what actually we mean with these terms.
What are Infectious diseases ?
Infectious Diseases are communicable diseases affecting humans and can be transmitted to other human by different mechanism. These diseases are caused by living microorganisms, like bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi. When these living microorganisms called pathogen enters the human body it causes the disease and activate our immune system. The organ that is affected depends upon the type of pathogen and the human host. Based upon the organ that is affected, we name the disease, like lung infection known as pneumonia, brain infection is known as meningo-encephalitis,etc.
The most common symptoms of infection is fever, but it is not absolutely present in all patients. The signs and symptoms of infectious diseases depend upon the organ that is involved, as we know in COVID-19 as the lungs are the primary organ that are involved, the common symptom is cough, difficulty in breathing, etc. So the signs and symptoms of the patient suffering from infectious diseases do give the idea of the organ involved. Fever is the most common symptom of the infectious diseases, especially the acute infections, and is the most likely reason that the patient consults the physician. In many cases due to rare infections or atypical signs and symptoms, or the infection in patients who are having weak immunity due to steroid intake, diabetes, transplant or cancer, the diagnosis of the pathogen and the disease becomes challenging, here comes the role of the Infectious Diseases Physicians. It is also apt to mention that getting the opinion and treatment from a specialist is always appropriate and recommended.
Diagnosis of Infectious diseases
The diagnosis of infectious diseases involves different tests that the doctor ask to be done based upon the differential diagnosis, that he has in mind after carefully examining the patient and his signs and symptoms. The treatment is done using antimicrobials. Initially based upon most probable diagnosis, the antimicrobial is prescribed, and later after making the diagnosis the targeted therapy is started. There are increasing evidence of drug resistance in microorganism, as such it is always recommended that it is checked for antimicrobial susceptibility. Infectious Diseases are challenging when it comes to diagnose and treat, with prevention of such diseases with available age appropriate vaccination is always apt. Adult vaccination is the new upcoming preventive method that the COVID-19 has created. An Infectious Diseases Physician is the person who accurately deals with this. We must say for this “Prevention is better than cure”, holds always true.
Dr ANKITA BAIDYA MBBS, MD (AIIMS), DM (Infectious Diseases) (AIIMS) ID training Wayne state, USA Founder and Director iCURE clinix, New Delhi Consultant Physician and Infectious Diseases Specialist